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Angels Fear to Tread

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They were here, he thought. Inside his own palace. It had been nearly comical watching them try every spell and bit of half-assed magic at their disposal to attempt to get inside. He’d eventually taken pity on the baby hunters and just let them in.

“Yes!” Isabelle had said when they’d succeeded in creating a small rift in the shielding. “I knew that would work!”

The other two had nodded emphatically in response to a job well done before venturing inside. Magnus couldn’t help eyeing the blonde hunter, fingers itching to simply erase him from existence. It was unfortunate that he would probably never have that pleasure, but then soon enough, he would leave this realm and never have to think about the hunter again.

He watched as they moved in a tight coordinated grouping through the long passageways. They were searching for something—something very specific.

His soul.

Magnus was rather impressed that their tracking method seemed to be yielding results. The broken parabatai bond was not nearly as shattered as he’d thought if they were able to tap into the remnants of it that still existed in Alexander’s soul.

“He—it’s really here,” the girl, Clary said softly as she eyed the spell. It glowed faintly within her hands as it lead them through the winding corridors and vast halls towards the one they sought.

These baby hunters weren’t terribly quiet, not as much as they should have been given the situation they had placed themselves in. They thought themselves invisible—untouchable—but nothing could be further from the truth. Their very species was verging on extinction with only a few thousand remaining, and still these children dared to come into the belly of the beast.

But they were in luck. The swarms of lesser demons that usually crawled through every shadow were currently occupied watching and guarding their new master per Magnus’s orders. He cared little for Shadowhunters—even less for those that would dare break into his palace, but these particular nephilim couldn’t be harmed. Even after the betrayal of the Lightwoods, Alexander would never forgive him if he disposed of these three.

“I know that warlock is hiding something,” the blonde commander hissed out.

One of the girls, Isabelle spoke up. “Jace, we’re not here to dig up any of Magnus Bane’s secrets. We’re here for Alec’s—Alec’s soul so he can be put to rest. The accords were just signed and the war is over. This is a quick in-and-out job.”

Jace gritted his teeth. “We’ll get Alec, but he would want us to make sure that the rest of the shadowhunters aren’t being tricked!”

“No!” the red-haired girl said sharply. “No. Alec would want us to live.”

The boy’s eyes went wide as he swallowed uncomfortably and looked away. The circumstances of Alexander’s kidnap— relocation were still clearly a sore point for the pair. The warlock could tell that they each blamed themselves and each other for failing to save Alexander that day.

Their conversation died after that, and they continued on through the labyrinth that was a Edomic palace. Magnus smiled as he moved silently around them—ahead of them—and he watched from the shadows as they finally found what they sought . . . his secret.

The great doors opened, revealing an ancient throne room that hadn’t seen use in centuries—not since Magnus had killed his older brother and taken over his territory. He’d had little use for the posturing and sniveling of demons attempting to gain favor with the princes of hell. They followed his orders or they were destroyed.

He’d repurposed the room—spent years reconfiguring the cavernous space into the perfect cradle of magic . . . And it was nearly time for the birth.

The hunters had their arms up covering their eyes as they were initially blinded by the magic that writhed and bubbled in the center of the room. Even as their eyes adjusted, he could see that they were at a loss for what it was that they were truly looking at.

“What is that?” Isabelle asked, taking in the way a thousand swaying tendrils of purple magic rooted from the ceiling to the floor. They stepped closer, moving slowly, before Isabelle’s eyes were caught by a movement. A shine in the corner of the room that glistened in the darkness.

Her face slackened as she took hold of the other two and pulled them back to her. They each looked at her in question before realizing that her attention wasn’t on them or the whirling magic before them. No, her eyes were on the hoard of lesser demons that seethed and clamored above them—around them.

“They—they should be all over us,” Jace whispered as they all held their weapons aloft.

“Why aren’t they attacking?” Clary asked.

“Because I ordered them not to,” Magnus said, his voice echoing through the room. The hunters flinched, looking around wildly for him, but he hadn’t materialized as of yet.

“You guys,” Clary said softly as she seemed to notice something. Isabelle and Jace looked back at her as she held up the tracking sphere. It glowed a bright blue when pointed towards the cradle.

“Alec’s soul is in there?” Isabelle asked as she looked back and forth from the orb to the churning spire of magic.

Jace was the first to break from the group, moving swiftly towards the pulsing indigo mass.

“Jace, don’t touch it!” Clary called as she came up behind him.

“If we can’t retrieve Alec’s soul, then we can at least destroy this thing! He’s probably using Alec to feed whatever creature is in there!”

The blonde moved forward, his seraph blade coming out intent on striking. Magnus sighed as he revealed himself, stepping in front of the blade and catching it with his bare hand. Jace’s eyes were wide and his mouth open in surprise to see the warlock there. These sorts of blessed weapons easily killed demons and downworlders, but warlocks—especially ones as old and powerful as Magnus Bane . . . well they were little more than toys.

“I can’t allow you to do that,” Magnus said softly.

“You,” Jace said through gnashed teeth. “Killing him wasn’t enough? You’re using his soul for a spell?”

Magnus raised a brow. “Perhaps you should look closer,” he said.

“Jace, there’s a . . . a person in there,” Clary whispered from behind him and Jace’s eyes moved from Magnus to the cradle. It was a bright swirling mass that was hard to see through, but so close, the hunters could make out a figure, hanging in the center like a puppet by the strings.

Jace was the first to recognize the figure. “Oh my God . . . Alec!” He looked back at the warlock and pointed the weapon at him. “Release him! Now!”

Magnus sneered at the threatening gesture. Alexander had never acted this way—so childish and demanding—even in the beginning. He hooked his fingers into the air and Jace was lifted, his hands clawing uselessly at his throat as the warlock slowly strangled him.

“You!” Jace gasped out angrily. The two girls didn’t hesitate to bare their own blades but a flash of his eyes had them hesitating. Magnus snorted, dropping the hunter to the ground before turning his back on them and facing the cradle. He reached out and ran his fingers through the twisting and spiraling coils of magic. It danced around his hands in a ballet that welcomed him within its embrace. It was his own magic after all.

“It . . . It can’t be Alec,” Isabelle said softly. “He’s—He’s been dead for almost two years. The parabatai rune . . .”

Magus turned his head back towards her. “I destroyed it,” he said simply. “Alexander hated that you all worried for him—would perhaps get yourselves killed trying to rescue him. He needn’t have concerned himself with that, of course. The Clave would never approve a mission to take Alexander back.”

The widening of their eyes confirmed his words and if his teeth were a little sharper when he smiled . . . well the hasty bobbing of their throats was worth the bit of magic.

“I knew it . . .” Clary said. “No one believed me, but I knew it. The way you looked at him.”

Jace’s lips thinned. Joy that Alexander still lived warred with disgust at the implications of her words. Magnus merely smiled again but didn’t answer. Isabelle stepped forward, drawing his attention as her eyes traced over the indigo coils of magic that wrapped around Alexander’s body like tentacles, sucking on his skin as though draining the very life from him.

“What did you do to him?” she asked.

His head tilted and a single brow rose. “Oh . . . many many things, Miss Lightwood.”

She understood the insinuation even as her brow knitted in confusion. “Why?”

“So small a question,” he said softly. “For what is indeed a complex answer.”

She’d seen the way his fingers moved within the magic of the cradle and the way he’d stopped Jace from attempting to destroy the spell.

“Is he the reason you agreed to the accords?”

He blinked lazily at her even as it became clear that the other two hunters had been thrown off by the question.

“My dear,” Magnus said softly. “I did not agree to the accords. I offered them.”

The blonde hunter shook his head. “What are we missing? What did you ask for?”

Magnus clucked his tongue in annoyance. “I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that your parents didn’t let you see the documents—perhaps you’re still too young for that.”

Jace looked ready to try and attack him again, but Isabelle put a hand on his shoulder stopping him. “What did you ask for?” she repeated.

The warlock hummed for a moment. “One small concession. A mere sample of blood from your parents.”

The girl’s jaw dropped open as she looked from him to Alec and back again. She said nothing, though—too shocked to respond.

Magnus chuckled as he filled in the blanks for the other two. “They gifted me with their son in exchange for fifty years of peace.”

Clary’s hand had come up to cover her mouth in horror as she gasped and Isabelle slumped a bit, her expression crumpling before his eyes.

Only Jace held on to a last shred of hope. “They would never—” he began.

Magus cut him off quickly. “Oh, but they did. I took him from the battlefield that day, but he was never truly mine . . . not until your parents agreed to part with a certain ingredient that I needed to perform this spell.”

Isabelle looked up at the mass of tendrils behind him—At Alexander’s prone form. “This—this isn’t a disownment spell. This is something far more powerful than that. You would have had to prepare for this—it would have taken you months—” she began.

His eyes flashed in glee as he cut her off. “Over a year, actually . . . and you’re right. This isn’t a disownment spell. It’s a bit more . . . transformative than that.”

Isabelle looked at the way the magic was drawn to him before peering back up at Alexander. “You’ve removed his connection to Raziel and replaced it with something else.”

Magnus flashed her another toothy grin. “So very intelligent, Isabelle Lightwood. Yes, this spell will change angelic blood into demonic.” Despair filled her eyes and he couldn’t help licking his lips as he tasted their torment.

Clary stepped between them, looking defiant. “You . . . you can’t do this to him!”

Magnus shrugged. “I can, my dear. I already did,” he said with nonchalance. “Alexander was quite heartbroken when I told him that his family had traded him for an end to the war . . . even after I severed the parabatai rune, he still held a piece of himself away from me, but that last straw—that final word of ending to the story of Alexander Lightwood—that was enough for him to agree.”

Jace’s grip on his seraph blade tightened. “It’s not true! We never—”

Magnus smiled. “You didn’t need to. Robert and Maryse were all that I needed. I lucked out, really. My angel is the son of two pragmatists. They will be known through history as the people who brought about the end of the war—the Lightwood name will forever be remembered.”

“They wouldn’t . . . You must have forced them.” Jace murmured, but he couldn’t deny the sight of the spell, the tendrils that wrapped around his brother’s naked body.

“I may have used every avenue of . . . persuasion, but for this to have worked, the blood had to be willingly given,” he said, putting the last nail in the coffin.

“How . . . how long will he be like this?” Isabelle asked.

Magnus pretended to think. “I don’t know. It could be months or perhaps even years. Warlocks can vary wildly in power due to their bloodlines. The more powerful the warlock, the longer it will take, and the bloodline I chose for Alexander is very powerful.”

“When he wakes up . . . we need to see him,” she said firmly, as though she had any power to make demands of a Prince of Hell.

He raised a brow. “No.”

“What do you mean ‘no’?” she snapped out.

Magnus could not help the snort that escaped him. “I’ll say it again in Spanish. No .

“Why the hell not?” Jace demanded.

The warlock’s eyes flashed at the pair, a muscle under his eye twitched and the hunters recoiled slightly. He sneered at them. “Alexander won’t be able to speak to non-warlocks for a while. His emotions and magic will be highly unstable and even the slightest upset could trigger something catastrophic. His family—I’m sorry, his parents,” he corrected with it looked like the hunters would interrupt. “Abandoned him. Being reminded of that pain will not only hurt him but put everyone around him at risk—but I will of course keep you on speed dial.”

Before they could say anything else, he snapped his fingers and they disappeared from the throne room, and indeed the palace.

“Insolent little pests,” he murmured as he looked back up at his lover. “The things I do for you.”

They would appear in front of the rift that they’d created and find it shrinking. He smiled, imagining the arguing and harried words as they jumped into the portal and returned to Idris. He’d have also loved to be a fly on the wall when they confronted their parents.

“You lied to them,” Catarina said as she emerged from the shadows.

Magnus hummed with a smile on his face as his fingers ran over the magic of the cradle. As they moved, Alexander’s warlock mark was revealed. The massive appendages would have no doubt put off the hunters and so they’d been disguised until now.

They were a sight to behold, he thought. He could not help the way his lips pulled into a genuine smile and another wave of his fingers had the tendrils of magic slowly pulling away.

“Of course I did,” he said, eyes intent on his lover. “I could not let them be the first thing he sees when he wakes. And now I won’t even have to worry about Alexander being bothered by that pesky parabatai of his.”

“You could have just killed them,” she said indifferently.

Magnus snorted. “They are not used tissues to be discarded. Parabatai are closer than blood.”

Catarina shrugged, unconcerned and uncaring before turning around and walking away. She knew he wanted to be alone for this final part of his plan . . . Alexander’s awakening. Well, as alone as one could be surrounded by a sea of lesser demons.

A few of them skittered closer—ones that Alexander had become fond of in the final months of his captivity. The new warlock was gradually lowered until Magus could wrap his arms around him. He was careful not to jostle the marks of magic that had sprouted from the former hunter’s back.

Alexander's breathing was hitched and labored as he took his first breath outside the cradle in weeks. Magnus watched as the other man’s eyes fluttered before slowly opening.

“M . . . Magnus,” he whispered groggily. He reached up and brushed his fingers over Magnus’s face.

The warlock smiled. “Alexander,” he said softly, holding the other man even closer. “Welcome back, my love.”

Chapter Text

Magnus smiled as hell rained down upon the nephilim. Most were able to summon protective runes in time, but not all. Some screamed as they burned and the warlock took a deep breath of satisfaction. There was a muffled sound beside him that had his eyes sliding over towards the vampire clan leader.

Raphael didn’t appear as happy as the warlock had thought he’d be.

“What ever is the matter?” he asked, his voice light and airy despite the scent of burning flesh that filled his lungs.

Raphael’s lips twisted. “You’re playing with them.”

There was more than a hint of disgust in the other man’s voice and it was enough to have glowing cat-like eyes focus entirely on the young downworlder. Raphael blinked, his shoulders tensing as he realized that he might have said something to offend the Prince of Hell.

Magnus was tempted play with him a bit, but Raphael was . . . not unlikeable—even with his rather pedantic and tedious personality. He moved his gaze back to the battle and gave an unconcerned shrug. “They’re so predictable, these shadowhunters—one must derive one’s fun from somewhere.”

The vampire apparently didn’t know when not to push because his tense voice sounded once more. “We didn’t ask you to torture them—”

Magnus was before him in a fraction of a second, cutting Raphael off. His eyes flashed and Raphael let out a strangled gasp. “But you did ask for our help all the same.” Magnus said, his tone taking on an otherworldly demonic hiss. “You allowed my father access to this plane to fight this war. Do not complain at our methods for winning.”

The seelie queen stepped forward then. “The vampire is young, Magnus. He still feels a connection to humans. Do not take his words to heart. We are very grateful that our demonic kin came to our aid when we needed you.”

Magnus looked away from Raphael and towards the queen, a smile pulling at his features. The help of the demonic realm hadn’t come free of charge, of course. Despite what the shadowhunters believed, Asmodeus hadn’t been interested in invading the mortal world—he liked human women too much to release the unrelenting hunger of his demonic armies upon the Earth.

He had less of a problem releasing them into Idris so long as he was given his tribute. The vampire and seelie populations had been decimated by the sacrifice they’d been forced to make—Immortals lives were far more valuable than most and a true sacrifice had been required . . . especially when one of the conditions was to leave when the war was finished.

Raphael was still new to leadership and so he could be forgiven for not adhering to the standard protocol. The former leader, Camille, had been one of those sacrificed in the fires of the tribute as Asmodeus chose the oldest of the various races to consume.

“You do not speak for me,” Raphael said, a hint of teeth appearing as he snarled.

The fae queen didn’t seem impressed. “Perhaps not, but do not think I am the only one to notice that you are softer on the mortals than your predecessor. The daylighter—”

Raphael’s eyes narrowed in fury. “Do not speak to me of Simon. He is not and never will be yours.”

The girl tilted her head, her vacant eyes moving over Raphael as though he were a bug under a microscope. “I can better protect him—”

Now Raphael’s fangs fully dropped and he took a threatening step towards the queen, but Lucian’s hand across his chest stayed the movement.

The wolf’s fingers were tipped with deadly claws but they did not attempt to pierce the flesh of the vampire. “We are in the middle of a battle,” Lucien said patiently. “Now is not the time to argue about Simon.”

Raphael shrugged off the other man’s hold and the queen gave no reaction whats-so-ever. Magnus watched the byplay with interest, his eyes moving between the ‘allies’ as they glared at one another.

Such conversations were rare in Edom—but then there were rarely beings of equal status. There was always someone more or less powerful and status was determined by who you killed and what you took as your own.

And Magnus . . . He’d taken quite a bit over the centuries. While he’d been born within the mortal realm, the warlock had been taken by Asmodeus back to Edom when he’d still been a child. After killing his human father and revealing his warlock mark, the demon had come and swept him away.

Magnus had visited Earth a time or two, but he generally preferred the lawlessness and debauchery of Edom to the false veneer of civility that seemed to grow stronger with the passing years along with the narcissistic self importance of the nephilim.

A self-importance that had eventually blown up in their faces.

Magnus looked away from the squabbling downworlders and back towards the battle. There was a cloud of magic that hung over the fighting masses and he smiled as it continued to swell with every death—nephilim death, that is. Thousands of demons had been lost, but they were never truly alive to begin with. Their essences would be cast back into hell and they would be reborn once more with only the need to fight. But the hundreds of dead shadowhunters . . . their souls had been been carefully collected. Asmodeus would consume some of them but others would be repurposed into greater demons to serve him.

There was a rush of power, barely noticeable in the flux of the battle, but Magnus was completely in tuned with battle magics. His cat-like eyes moved over the field in search of the source, and he felt the pausing of the others as they noticed his attention.

“What is it?” Lucian asked.

His eyes narrowed as he felt a new runic magic the through the carnage. “One of the commanders . . . he has left the protection of the runic fields beyond the battle. He has entered the fray.”

“They are retreating. Why would a commander join the fight now?” Raphael asked as he too looked over the field.

Magnus had no answer and so said nothing as he leapt from the cliff and down towards his forces. He felt drawn to this power—drawn to whoever it was that seemed intent on sacrificing themselves. His eyes scanned the carnage as his body moved through the sea of men, women, and demons. He cut down the enemies in his path like a scythe through wheat, a smile curing his lips. If he could destroy a high ranking hunter in the throws of battle, it would be one less obstacle to victory.

Perhaps if the commander had been less skilled, Magnus might have missed him, but the way the young hunter released arrow after arrow into the skulls of the demons—they fell around him like puppets on cut strings.

Magnus paused, watching the man and he realized that the hunter wasn’t moving. He was staying put, keeping demons away, but not trying to flee or giving into a bloodlust. The warlock’s eyes narrowed as the hunter paused during a lull and reached down to . . . help someone.

An orange-haired girl struggled to get up from the ground. Her side and shoulder were badly burned from his hellfire spell. The acid rain had burned through much of her armor, but she still held a blade to fight.

“I’m alright, Alec,” she said, though her words were soft with strain.

The young man— Alec —shook his head. “You shouldn’t have been out here,” he said with more than a touch of irritation. “Jace—”

The girl made a noise of anger and irritation. “Please don’t talk about Jace right now,” she said as she finally hauled herself to her feet.

Another wave of his forces moved in on them, but the pair had obviously trained together for an extended length of time. They worked in almost perfect tandem as they cut down demon after demon.

Magnus had kept his presence shielded as he watched—looking for an opportunity to strike, but also assessing this man . . . Alec who had apparently broken rank with the other commanders to come and rescue this girl. A girl who was not even his own.

The warlock could not tell much about him from this distance, only that his hair was dark, stuck to his face and scalp in places with blood—his own or a demon’s, Magnus didn’t know. Alec was tall and powerfully built—the range and aim of his arrows was something to be admired.

Magnus moved closer, stepping over the dead, ignoring the calls of despair that surrounded him. His eyes were on one person . . . One person who was now slowly moving away from the battle, protecting the girl and helping her to limp back away from the fight.

Well that wouldn’t do . . .

His fingers came up in a flourish, his thumb holding his middle finger in place before it flicked outward, sending a jolt of energy towards the girl. She let out a high-pitched yelp as it struck her side and she fell again, her fingers trembling as they clutched at the invisible wound.

“Clary!” Alec called turning around with wide eyes—eyes that missed the demon coming up behind him. He reached out to help her just as the poisoned blade sliced through the flesh and bone of his back.

The girl lurched forward, heedless of her own significant pain as the other shadowhunter fell to the ground. His hands trembled in the dirt but his legs were unmoving. The demon was upon them, intent on finishing them off, but Magnus needed only to finally reveal himself and give a short jut of his chin.

The demon turned without another sound and scampered off to kill someone else. The girl, Clary, was looking up at him, horror etched on her features. She moved to shield Alec, but the man grabbed her arm.

“Clary, run,” he whispered and Magnus found the young man’s eyes were on him.

The girl was trying to pull on him—get him up again, but it was no use. The wound was deep, his spine probably severed. It was a wonder that he was still coherent enough to speak.

She shook her head, her voice catching with tears. “No Alec. I can’t leave you—”

The girl was so focused on the other hunter that she still hadn’t even noticed Magnus moving ever closer. A stupid girl that should have perished here today, but had instead lived with the sacrifice of a commander. Why had this young man entered the battle? Magnus saw no regret in the hunter’s gaze—no fear or sadness—and that . . . that interested him.

Alec was looking at him, but his words were for the girl. “You—You need to run! That’s a warlock, Clary— the warlock.”

She finally seemed to realize that there was someone close behind her and she whirled around to face him again. He knew the picture he made standing there over her. Cat-like eyes glowing through the smoke and twisted black metal armor covering much of his body. His crowned helmet sported horns that curled up and back making him appear taller and infinitely more terrifying. He didn’t really need armor, but he wore it anyway for occasions such as this. He enjoyed the way her throat bobbed as she tried to swallow past her own fear. She held up her trembling blade against him and his head tilted as he smiled down at her.

“You should listen to him, girl,” he said placidly. “Run away—run back to your people.”

Spread my tale of fear and confusion into your ranks.

“No!” she said, her voice a bit more firm than he’d have credited her for. It was admirable . . . or perhaps incredibly stupid. He wasn’t sure which as of yet. Magnus waved a hand in a gesture, pointing towards Alec. The girl flinched expecting an attack, and then seemed even more unsure when none was forthcoming.

“That boy is already lost to you,” Magnus said logically, his voice even. “He can not walk and even now his blood stains the ground.” The young man was growing ashen as he steadily lost more blood. Nerves and tissues dying as the seconds ticked by. “He will be dead in moments . . . if I do not heal him.”

It was not what he had intended to offer. He’d intended to kill the commander, but capturing one was just as good, if not a better option.

Alec reached out a trembling hand, brushing his fingers against the girl’s hand with the last of his strength. “Please, Clary,” he whispered, “get back to Ja . . .” Whatever he’d been about to say was lost as the shadowhunter finally lost consciousness.

Clary turned again, showing her back to Magnus as she tried to shake the other hunter awake again. “Alec? Alec!” she called, her voice taking on a higher pitch towards the end. Her anxiety was clearly taking over her good sense. The hunter would be dead soon if not properly cared for.

Magnus allowed a bit of his magic to flow from his fingers and into her lungs and body. She would be more susceptible to his words. “Even if you were to beat me, you could not carry him and he would be dead long before you got him to safety.”

She looked back up at him. “Why would you help him?”

Magnus’s lips spread into a smile. “I’m not . . . nor am I helping you. Now. Go. I will not ask again.”

She licked her lips, looking back at Alec before letting out a strangled cry and getting back to her feet. She started running and didn’t look back. Magnus watched her for a second or two before looking back down at the broken and bleeding body of the hunter commander. The battle was beginning to weaken—hundreds dead on both sides, but he didn’t care about any of that. He moved closer, eventually crouching down to get a better look. His finger ran over the soft skin of Alec’s face and he smiled.

The warlock stood back up, his fingers making a sweeping motion as a portal opened below the hunter. And just like that, Alec disappeared from the battlefield.

“No!” He heard from off to the side. Magnus looked back and spotted a man running towards him. His dress identified him as another commander—young like Alec, but blonde. The hunter cut a large swath through the demons that separated them as Magnus created another portal behind him. He allowed the hunter to get close enough to see his smug smile before stepping back and disappearing.

He heard the furious howl of the blonde commander as it closed. He allowed himself a small chuckle before snapping his fingers.

“Catarina!” he called, as his eyes finally found the injured hunter laid out on the cold stone floor of one of his spell rooms. The flow of his blood had slowed considerably from what it had been at the battle. He would be dead soon.

“Catarina!” he called again and within seconds she appeared.

Her eyes were wide as she caught sight of him. “You’re back early. Usually you like to revel in your victories a little longer.”

It was a true enough statement that he did not dispute it. “Other matters take precedence,” he said gesturing to the man on the ground.

Confusion warred with disgust as she took in the injured hunter. “Is that a nephilim?” she asked, the last word coming out in a strangled tone as though even saying the word would make her heave.

“Yes,” he said simply.

Catarina looked at him again. “What is it doing here?” she asked with a raised brow.

“You are far more versed in the healing arts than I.”

She understood what he was asking, but her confusion was still there. “Why?”

Magnus shrugged. “He is a commander. I will get intel out of him before they have a chance to change their strategies and locations.”

She looked dubious but nevertheless, she nodded and crouched down—moving her arms and hands, sweeping them over the hunter. He could see her struggling.

Her breathing was heavy with strain. “Some of his runes prevent my magic from working—I can’t heal him completely until they fade.”

He’d thought that might be a problem. Nephilim and demonic magics didn’t mesh terribly well. “Do what you can to ensure that he sees tomorrow, then,” Magnus said. Many of the runes would have faded by then. The warlock waved his hand and the ground gave way to them, Catarin did not stop her spell as she landed gracefully on the ground while the Hunter landed in the bed of one of his more nondescript guestroom.

Catarina continued to work and Magnus fed her some of his power to boost her stores and speed the process along. Eventually she pulled away, breathing deeply. Magnus couldn’t see how much of the damage remained though the broken and tattered armor. He let he fingers move in a flourish and much of the hunter’s clothing disappeared.

Alec was covered in runes, as was to be expected. The dark marks were burned into his flesh daily, but they were not what caught his eye. The lingering effect of the demon’s blade was a rather nasty scar stretching from the hunter’s shoulder down nearly to his hip.

Catarina made a vague gesture over the extensive damage. “The poison on the blade destroyed the flesh there. He will always have the scar.”

Magnus nodded silently as he came around the bed and looked down at the hunter. His hair and skin were still marred by the caked-on grime of battle and part of his face was obscured due to his position laying on his stomach, but Alec’s . . . beauty was not something that could be dismissed.

“He is quite the specimen, isn’t he?” Catarina asked as she came to stand beside him.

Magnus looked back at her, lips pursed as he caught her eyeing the hunter. Her disgust seemed to have lessened as she examined the physical form of the nephilim. He was tempted to deny her claim but in the end what did it matter if he found the young man desirable? It meant nothing.

“You will keep him, yes?” she asked. “His wounds were far more severe than I’d thought and it took longer to heal. Any information that would have been useful is gone . . . but you do not seem inclined to dispose of him.”

Magnus nearly licked his lips. “No . . . No you are right, I will keep him. I’ve not had a hunter is quite a few centuries and this one . . .”

Magnus reached out, running a finger down the side of the commander’s face, banishing the sweat and grime from his skin. His matted and blood soaked hair was instantly clean and felt like silk beneath the warlock’s fingers.

“It’s been a while since anyone interested you this way, Magnus.”

He snorted. “He is but a hunter—useless to me now but for one thing. I’ll have my fill and then hang his body outside Idris for his wife and children to see.”

Catarina raised a brow, clearly unconvinced of his venom, but Magnus found he didn’t care. No, he thought as he turned away and began spelling the room sealed. Hunters are such boring shallow creatures . . . this one is no different.

Chapter Text

Magnus stood within Alexander’s cell watching as the shadowhunter exercised with what was available to him. He’d left the hunter alone for nearly two weeks and all but one rune had faded. The parabatai rune stood out starkly black against Alexander’s fair skin.

Alexander Lightwood.

He’d recognized the name as soon as the first report from one of his spies has come in. Scion of the Lightwood family and one of the most respected commanders within the shrinking shadowhunter forces.

The young man was also at the eye of a hurricane brewing within the clave. A civil war that threatened to tear the entire organization apart from within. The consequences of their actions for not lifting a finger when Valentine had been on his rampage and now the disdain that the upper echelons of the Clave showed towards one of the their brightest commanders . . . They could fake their unity for outsiders and downworlders, but the factions within the hunter organization would have done his work for him given enough time.

No . . . He knew all about Alexander Lightwood

He remembered the ‘scandal’ a few years back—remembered how he’d chuckled as the young man was put on trial and nearly stripped of his runes for the crime of homosexuality. His peers had argued tirelessly on his behalf, but they had no power within the ruling council of the Clave. It was only the ongoing war and Alexander’s exemplary record in battle that had saved him. Even with the way the Clave had shunned him, he’d still continued to fight for the hunters—winning several skirmishes against Magnus’s forces.

Magnus licked his lips as the young man dropped down into a set of pushups on the ground. He’d had little need to interrogate Alexander—or even speak to him. So he’d left the hunter alone . . . well, he’d hidden his presence as he’d watched.  

Alec eventually finished with the pushups and had moved over beside the antique coffee table that sat in front of the fire that never died. Magnus cringed as the young man began doing box jumps . . . onto the coffee table. He sighed dramatically as the heavy wooden piece groaned a bit under the strain but did not shatter or even crack. This was his punishment for choosing such a . . . plush room to put Alexander into.

He’d forgotten to provide additional clothes, however. He could see that now with the way Alec had apparently washed his clothing in the bathroom, and they now hung from the mantle over the fire to dry. It left the hunter in only his undergarment—a small clingy thing that left nothing to imagination as Alexander did his jumps and the small bit of fabric provided next to no support in his . . . lower regions. Sweat had beaded along his back, running down the grove of his spine and the scar that still nearly bisected his back.

“Are you going to continue to watch me or are you going to say something this time?” Alec asked as he hit the ground, pausing his movements.

The warlock didn’t allow surprise to overcome him and he didn’t hesitated in revealing himself. Alexander stepped away from the coffee table, his head tilting as he took in the first person he’d seen in weeks. The hunter looked over at his clothing expectantly, and Magnus quickly waved a hand, drying them instantly.

“Though don’t feel like you need to get dressed up for me,” he said quickly, but the other man ignored him. Alexander didn’t thank him, merely walked over and started pulling the clothing back on. The firelight glowed around him giving him a stark silhouette that had Magnus staring.

It really was a shame to cover up such beauty.

Alexander turned back around, his pants were on, but the simple wrap shirt was still hanging open revealing his long torso. Magnus raised a brow at the sight.

“Why am I still alive?” the hunter asked suddenly when it became clear that Magnus wasn’t going to begin the conversation.

The warlock blinked, shaking himself free of his less than pure thoughts. “What?” he asked, blinking.

The hunter didn’t seem amused. “Why am I still alive? I can’t tell time in here, but I know it’s been at least a week.”

Magnus shrugged. “Nearly two.”

Alexander’s lips tightened and he looked worried. Magnus watched as the young man’s fingers ran over his side absently, touching the area where the hidden parabatai rune still remained. The warlock felt his eyes narrow ever so slightly at the sight. He’d long since figured out that the blonde commander from the battlefield was Jace Harondale, the parabatai of Alec Lightwood.

The echo of the commander’s agonized howl flashed through his mind. Was Harondale doing the same to his mark in this very moment, he wondered.

Alexander spoke again, his words breaking Magnus’s thoughts. “Well, if you were intending to drive me crazy, by leaving me alone—”

“That was not . . . my intent,” Magnus said quickly, stepping forward, his movements a glide that bordered on graceful. There was a subtle shift in Alexander’s breathing—unnoticeable unless one was intent on seeing it. The hunter was not immune to Magnus’s rather considerable charms, it seemed.

“Then what is your intent?” Alec asked with a swallow.

“I wanted to learn about you—about shadowhunters,” he said with a tilt of his head. It was a safe enough answer, he thought, but Alexander wasn’t buying it.

“Considering the way the war has been going, I’d say you know plenty,” the hunter answered shrewdly. It fit with what Magnus had come to know about him.

“One can never know too much, Alexander,” Magnus said lightly.

The hunter’s eyes narrowed and his lips thinned. “You know who I am, then.”

Magnus couldn’t stop the way his lips spread into a smile. “Oh, of course. Alexander Lightwood—shamed son of the Lightwood family. War hero on the losing side.”

Alexander grimaced, looking away. “You know all about me . . . If you’re looking to ransom me—”

“I’m not,” he said quickly, stepping forward even as the hunter backed away. “No, you won’t be going anywhere for awhile.”

By this point, Alexander had backed away until his thighs hit the bed. He was taller than Magnus—had at least fifty pounds of muscle on the warlock, but he was no match and he knew it. He had no runes and this was Magnus Bane.

“And besides, I don’t know all about you, but one does hear things . . .” he began softly, leaning in. “Things about a certain blond hunter . . . Jace Herondale, yes? Your parabatai—”

The name seemed to snap something inside of Alec. “Don’t talk about him!”

The warlock wouldn’t have have stopped the smug raising of his brows even if he’d wanted to. “I see . . .” he said softly. “Oh I do see.”

Magnus felt his magic well up inside him, aching to burst forth and make his dreams into reality. He felt the rush as it began to leak from him, sliding down his fingertips; puffing like smoke from his mouth.

“You love him, don’t you?”

Alexander shook his head frantically but Magnus laughed, his arms coming around the other man, pulling him close until his lips brushed the hunter’s ear.

“Love me,” he whispered. “As you love him.”

He felt Alexander stiffen against him before the hunter's body went boneless in his arms—the magic winding its way through his mind and body, twisting him to Magnus’s desires. And then the warlock felt those strong sweaty arms come around him, holding him close as a mouth and nose nuzzled against his neck. Magnus ran his fingers over smooth skin and firm muscle, before pulling the other man in enough to take his lips with his own.

The warlock wasn’t entirely certain what he’d expected, perhaps a burning passion or the impatience of youth, but Alexander was . . . soft. Unsure and gentle as he slowly explored Magnus’s mouth. His fingers tenderly cupped the downworlder’s face, fingers stroking the skin at the back of Magnus’s neck.

They finally came up for air. Magnus swallowed unconsciously as he took in the small contented smile that played Alec’s face. They leaned in close together, foreheads resting against each other. They stood there for a beat, just holding one another, and Magnus had to shake himself free of the strange longing that was beginning to invade his mind.

“Why don’t we take this to the bed,” he suggested, hands beginning to tug on Alexander’s shirt. The hunter nodded and pulled it off, his own hands unbuttoning Magnus’s jacket, but the warlock was far too impatient for that. He banished it with a flourish of magic that had Alexander chuckling softly.

The hunter hopped up on the bed, scooting back until his back was to the pillows. Magnus followed after him, crawling over that long lean body like a predator. They shared a grin before the Warlock leaned over and again kissed his hunter.

“Wait . . .” Alexander whispered, even as his fingers brushed against magnus’s side.

“What? What’s wrong?” he asked. The hunter’s breathing was hitched, but not in want. It was . . . a nervousness that was not altogether unfamiliar to Magnus.

“I—I mean I’ve never . . .”

Magnus felt his eyes narrow as his head tilted in suspicion. “Have you ever been with anyone?”

Alexander looked away. “I . . . I couldn’t. It was forbidden. If I . . . If I ever . . . I would have been banished.”

Magnus let his fingers run over Alexander’s cheek, bringing his face back towards the warlock. Their eyes met and Magnus took in the slight glassiness of his eyes and the shuttered breathing. Even in love, this hunter was still restrained—haunted but in control.

He could have used magic to further force the issue. Magnus wanted sex . . . He wanted sex with Alexander Lightwood. He wanted to spend hours riding this shadowhunter and drawing out their pleasure until he thought of nothing but Magnus.

But he didn’t want an animal—not tonight at least.

The warlock leaned in and brushed another kiss—chaste and light and went to get off Alexander, but the other man hastily wrapped a hand around his wrist, stopping him. Magnus looked down at the hand in confusion. No one had ever dared to stop him from doing anything—especially not in so physical a manner—not if they wanted to keep their limbs attached anyway.

“Please . . . I don’t want you to leave. Can’t we just . . . lay here?”

Magnus looked up from the fingers around his wrist to the beseeching eyes. He should shake the other man off and portal out of the room immediately, but Alexander reached out with his other hand. He cupped the warlock’s face and Magnus felt himself sigh as he leaned back in, laying down beside the shadow hunter. They faced one another and Magnus couldn’t help himself from allowing a hand to drape over Alexander’s side. The hunter smiled, moving forward the smallest bit and kissed him again.

“I love your eyes,” he said softly.

Magnus blinked for a second, taken aback. Clearly the spell was working a bit too well.

“I saw you on the battlefield. You were wearing that black armor and Clary was screaming, but all I could see were your eyes. They glowed,” he said leaning in and brushing a kiss over Magnus’s eyelids.

“Everything felt so cold, but your eyes. I saw your eyes and I knew I wasn’t going to die.”

“You couldn’t have known that. I was the enemy—”

“Not my enemy,” he said, his fingers squeezing Magnus’s neck. “You took me, but you’ve never hurt me.”

The warlock was tempted to prove the hunter wrong—to ruin him in ways he’d yet to dream of—but as he gazed on that face, that trusting expression . . . Magnus found himself hesitant to destroy the warm tranquility that had settled over them. He could hold back for tonight.

They held each other close and Magnus watched as those dark eyes eventually fell shut with sleep. As the hours passed, the magic eased and released the mortal from the spell. Magnus never slept—how could he in the presence of a hunter—but he did doze on occasion. Even this feeble rest never lasted however, as every shift of the young man brought Magnus’s mind back to reality.

Still, he never moved, never disturbed Alec or left . . . Even when the hunter eventually awakened and pulled away. Surprisingly, he didn’t go far. He didn’t even leave the bed. He merely sat on the edge of the mattress, feet planted on the ground and face consumed by his hands. Magnus’s eyes eventually lifted and he watched as the hunter sighed—no doubt he hated himself for nearly giving into such a spell.

He still hasn't moved—hadn’t given away his consciousness and yet Alexander seemed to know he was awake anyway.

“You wanted to have . . . have sex with me. That’s what last night was, right?”

The hunter’s voice was rough—with emotion or sleep, Magnus was unsure about. The warlock sat up as well, resting one foot on the ground, but leaving another curled beneath him as he faced Alexander’s back.

He kept his voice deliberately light. “That was the point, yes. I was not expecting you to be so . . . innocent.”

At this Alec did turn his head and meet his eyes. “And that matters—to you, I mean?”

Magnus wanted to make some snide comment, but really, Alexander knew nothing about him beyond whatever propaganda the Clave had cooked up about the favorite son of Asmodeus.

“It does,” he said with a nod. “I have been gifted with the first time of a great many people, but they came to me and asked. I would make your first time as good as I can, but it is not something that I wish to take by force.”

The hunter looked away again, his head bowing down low. It confused Magnus that such a proud man would look so beaten down. He raised a brow in confusion and suspicion, but said nothing as Alec finally spoke.

“I never believed I would live long enough to have a first time,” Alexander whispered quietly. “And even if I survived this war . . . If I . . . wanted to be with someone, I would need to leave the hunters—leave the Institute and my family . . . and join the mortal realm.”

Which would not end well, Magnus thought. Alexander Lightwood was the scion of a powerful shadowhunter bloodline, but in the mortal realm . . . he wouldn’t have any background or skills to get a job or a place to live. It was in itself almost a death sentence. The thought bothered him—poking at his mind until the full weight of the hunter’s words hit him.

“You hoped you would die in the war,” Magnus whispered.

Alexander seemed to shrink in on himself even further, his shoulders hunching for the barest of moments in shame and sadness. Magnus shifted towards the hunter, wanting to reach out to him, but without the safety net of his magic . . . he was unsure of how welcome the gesture would be.

Eventually, Alec was able to regain control of himself, and he turned around to face the Warlock. Magnus looked at him—took in the quiet desperation of a man with no more options. The hunter had resigned himself to death to escape the torment of his life.

Magnus moved in closer, crossing the bed until he was seated beside Alexander. “I’m not your parabatai. You don’t love me, but if you want it . . . I’ll make it good for you.”

Alec’s throat bobbed rhymically before he leaned in and pressed his mouth to Magnus’s. No spell, no magic. Just this baby hunter who was desperate to feel something—anything—before his inevitable death.

Magnus leaned in, his hand running lightly over Alexander’s chest. He swung a leg over the hunter’s thighs, listening as Alec groaned against his mouth. Alexander’s hands were hesitant about touching him for a fraction of a second before Magnus felt the other man’s fingers moving along his ribs and back.

“No regrets, Alexander,” he whispered against the hunter’s lips.

“No regrets,” the hunter repeated back, his hands pulling on Magnus’s belt, loosening his pants. Magnus chuckled and snapped his fingers, both their outer clothing disappearing in a flash, leaving only their undergarments. It would have been easier to banish those as well, but he didn’t want to spook Alec.

He needn't have been worried apparently as Alexander fully enclosed Magnus in his arms—pulling the warlock as close as he could, threading their legs together in a tangle of limbs. He was so warm, Magnus thought, warm and passionate in a way that was unexpected for an untried baby hunter.

Magnus tore his mouth away from Alexander’s and the younger man let out a distressed sound, but Magnus did not leave him unattended. His lips moved along the hunter’s jaw, down his neck and throat and he lavished the skin there with his tongue, taking in the fresh taste of Alexander. The hunter’s throat bobbed and Magnus chuckled against the skin before moving on, He glanced up at Alec just before taking a nipple into his mouth.

While there was some sensitivity in the nipples and many men found it eroginous, it was not going to send anyone over the edge . . . unless the person sucking on it was a warlock. He allowed his magic to thread through his mouth, his saliva and tongue, coating the thin pink skin there in a cocktail of sensory chemicals that had the other man’s pupils blowing out as they were absorbed into his body.

“What . . . what is that? Should it?” Alec asked, confusion catching in his words.

Magnus smiled as he sighed. “You’ll never get this from someone else. Only I can make you feel like this, Alexander."

Something in the hunter’s eyes was saddened and Magnus did not let himself outwardly react to what thoughts he knew were swimming in Alexander’s mind. He thought this was a one-time deal—that Magnus would fuck him and then either kill him or let him go.

The warlock would not be doing either. No . . . As Magnus switched to the other nipple and felt Alexander’s fingers caressing his face and listened to the hitched sounds coming from his lover. No, this one wouldn’t be going anywhere . . . not for a long time anyway.

Alexander’s breathing was uneven and the warlock finally put his hands on the hard rod of flesh that had been digging into his stomach. The hunter jolted in shock, his brows knitted together in hesitation, fear, and desire.

“I swore I’d make it good for you. I always keep my promises, Alexander.”

The young man swallowed before nodding and Magnus smiled, brushing a soft kiss over Alexander’s lips before moving down even further. His fingers hooked into the hunter’s briefs, pulling them slowly down and revealing Alexander’s somewhat purple erection.

“Oh . . . Alexander,” he said breathily, mouth literally watering as he leaned down and licked a stripe up the other man’s cock.

The hunter seemed to curl in on himself, sitting almost completely up so he could watch as Magnus took him into his mouth and sucked down to the root. The magic that had infected his mouth would no doubt be making Alexander feel as though he was being bathed in fire.

The hunter would never be able to look elsewhere for pleasure—not when Magnus was done with him.

“Ah . . . Oh God,” Alexander said through gritted teeth, his fingers lacing with Magnus’s over his thigh. “I—I can’t . . .”

Magnus wanted to tell him he could, but his mouth was otherwise occupied and so he doubled his efforts, tongue moving unnaturally around Alexander’s cock, enveloping it and rippling in a way that gave the hunter no chance of holding back his orgasm.

The hunter’s breathing shuddered as his body trembled and Magnus felt the gush of fluid in the back of his throat. He swallowed it, of course. It was only good manners and as he looked up, he found Alexander watching him, his jaw hanging open and his face wrecked.

The warlock released the softening cock, getting up on his hands to look over his lover. “Are you alright?’ he asked, only slightly pleased with the reaction.

“I . . . I didn’t know . . .”

“Well now you do,” he said leaning in and brushing his mouth over Alexander’s.

Magnus would admit that he’d mildly suspected that this would be the moment that his hunter got cold feet and pushed him away. It wouldn’t be the first time that someone had gotten what they wanted and then attempted to stiff Magnus of his payment.

That being said, if it was the case, he could not even bring himself to be angry with a virgin shadow hunter. He’d almost convinced himself that that was precisely what was about to happen . . . and then he felt a hand on his own cock, fingers rubbing his erection through his underwear.

“You . . . you don’t have to—”

“I want to. I . . . I want all of it . . . please?”

And who was Magnus to deny such a soft and pleading request.”

His underwear was gone with a snap of his fingers and Alexander leaned back into the pillows. His legs were still spread on either side of Magnus’s hips and even though his erection was softening, it was still glossy with residual saliva.

Such a tempting sight.

A flourish of fingers brought a bowl of oil and Alexander blinked at it—clearly aware of what it was and the intention behind its presence.

“Relax,” he said, moving his hand down over Alexander’s cock once again, finger light in deference to the hunter’s sensitivity. Their gazes never parted as Magnus leaned down, his other hand slipping down further and into Alec’s hidden space.

The young man swallowed as the first finger penetrated him and he blinked rapidly at the sensation. Magnus kissed Alec’s inner thigh in support as he began working the other man’s hole open. It was tight, and more oil was needed before another finger would enter.

Magnus spent more time prepping Alexander than he ever had before. He had to make this good for Alec. The hunter’s belief that he would die young—that this would be the only time he’d ever be given the chance to indulge in his own desires . . . Magnus needed to wipe away the defeated sadness from those eyes.

If he didn’t already loathe the Clave, seeing results of their culture on Alec would have gotten him there. The young man was . . . sweet. It was a strange thing to find in someone who was clearly a strong and capable warrior—a leader of shadowhunters who’d gone up against demons and downworlders.

And yet he was still so young, barely two decades on this world.

By the time Magnus was done, Alexander’s erection had hardened once more and the hunter was flushed and panting while watching him.

“Are you sure, Alexander.”

The hunter licked his lips but nodded. “Yeah.”

Magnus knelt in closer, lining his hips up with Alec’s, before guiding himself inside. Alec was so warm and the small sounds he was making as he experienced sex for the first time . . .

“Are you alright?” Magnus asked, leaning over after seating himself completely. Alec’s legs came up on either side of Magnus’s thighs, holding them close together. But his hands . . . they were still clenched into the sheets.

“You can touch me, you know,” he whispered

The hunter nodded shallowly, his fingers releasing their death grip on the cloth before hesitantly, gliding over the skin over Magnus’s ribs. When the warlock began to move, nails began digging into the flesh of his back and Magnus smiled as he mouthed the skin of Alec’s neck. He sucked his fair share of marks into the other man’s skin, biting and spilling his magic into Alexander every once in a while when the hunter made a particularly delicious sound.

“I—I—Magnus—It’s . . .” Alec said breathily, his arms coming around to completely encircle the warlock.

Magnus smiled, picking up the pace and allowing more of his power to wash over Alec. The hunter’s nerves would be on fire by now with a pleasure that was unnatural to all but the most powerful of warlocks. Even so, Alec was trying his best not to come undone. He fought with himself and with the feelings that were no doubt trying to consume him.

“It’s alright, angel. Don’t hold back,” he said pulling away from Alexander’s neck long enough for their eyes to meet.

Alec’s pupils were blown wide and he surged up to meet Magnus’s lips, moaning into the kiss. The warlock let out a low groan of his own as the kiss turned as sloppy and untried as his thrusts were becoming. It was then that Alec jerked away, his jaw open wide as unseeing eyes looked up and his orgasm overtook him.

It was a sight to behold, really. Those dark dark eyes and pink pink lips bitten red as flushed skin shone with sweat. It was enough to drive Mangus over the edge as well and he emptied himself inside Alec with a bitten off growl.

His eyes flashed, drawing Alexander’s attention and for a fraction of a second, they were still. Doubts surfaced in Magnus’s mind about the hunter’s earlier words, but they were quickly laid to rest as Alec’s fingers wrapped around his neck and throat. The young man leaned up and their lips met once more.

It was slow this time, gentle and shallow as Magnus slipped out of Alec’s body. The warlock eventually pulled away and turned over onto his back. They laid there side by side, Alec shifting slightly as his legs slowly straightened after being splayed wide for so long.

“That was . . .”

“The best of your life,” Magnus answered with a low laugh.

Alec smiled. “Yeah, probably,” he said and the warlock’s eyes narrowed. He’d said the wrong thing, he realized. He’d reminded Alexander of the young man’s fear that this was a one time occurance.

Magnus sat up, looking down at the pale unmarked skin of his hunter lover. “I’m glad you enjoyed that, because we’ll be doing it quite often from now on.”

Alec froze, his blinking eyes meeting the warlock’s gaze. “I thought—”

“I know what you thought, Alexander,” he said quickly. “You thought I would use you and then discard you—perhaps plan a trap for your brethren with you at the center of my nefarious plans.” He paused and the hunter looked vaguely uncomfortable with his words which mean that he’d at least contemplated the idea and Magnus rolled his eyes. “No, Alexander. There will be no ransoms, no traps, no escape.”

“Why?”

“I like you, Alexander. I like you enough to offer you this little vacation.”

“Va—Vacation? We’re in the middle of a war!” Alec said in a mix of desperation and exasperation.

Magnus’s expression was indifferent. “For you, the war is over.”

Alec shook his head. “You—you can’t just keep me locked up like this.”

“Oh, I can, Alec. I am,” he said, leaning in. “You’ll survive this conflict—you might even be the only one that does.”

“My—my family—my parabatai will come for me.”

Magnus wondered if Alec really believed that—if he truly believed that his family would go on a suicide mission to save him. Perhaps the parabatai would . . .

The warlock smiled. “He might, but until then,” he said before looking towards a blank wall and allowing his arm to flourish in a wave of magic. A door appeared and he turned back to Alec. “That door will take you anywhere in the world—this one or another.”

“Anywhere—even back home?”

“No,” he said flatly. “Idris is guarded by protective magics—not even an illusion can be created to mimic it.”

“Why are you doing this?”

Magnus brushed a kiss over Alec’s lips. “You’re going to be here for a long time—or at least until the war ends. I like to think I’m a gracious host to my guests,” he said, his fingers moving lightly over Alexander’s chest, brushing the other man’s nipples and smiling at the catch in the hunter’s breath.

Alec looked down at the hand before meeting Magnus’s gaze again. There was something . . . resigned about his expression—almost disappointed. “You . . . you want to have—have sex with me again, right? That’s why you’re doing all this?”

Magnus tried to remember the last time he’d met someone with such a low estimation of themselves—perhaps Van Gogh, he thought. With enough time and encouragement, ideally the hunter would outgrow it. It’d be a shame for Alexander to lose an ear.

“There will be plenty of that,” he said patiently, “Amongst other things. Now, I think you and I need a shower. Why don’t we adjourn to the bathroom and I’ll be sure to wash your back.”

Alec shook his head but got up anyway, his butt flexing with each step and Magnus’s head tilted in appreciation before getting up to follow the other man.

Chapter Text

Magnus watched Alec as the other man ran through the empty streets of Paris. The illusion of the city was barren of life—and odd choice for someone like Alexander, but perhaps he just did not want the distraction during his daily bit of exercise.

The warlock sipped his tea, revealing himself as the other man came around the corner. Alec slowed down to a stop as he approached. Magnus snapped his fingers and another cup appeared opposite him, steam rising from the delicate china.

“What are you doing here?” Alec asked and there was a tiredness to his voice that was not just from the exercise.

Magnus raised a brow at the tone, but ignored it. “Simply taking in the scenery. I must say, I never thought to hear the sounds of the wind or the chirping of the birds while in Paris.”

“I hate running through people.” The words were short—clipped, as though he was stewing for a fight. Alexander had never spoken to him in such a way before.

“Ah, yes I understand,” Mangus said with an indifferent shrug, gesturing for Alec to take a seat. The tiny wrought iron table and chair seemed almost cliche for a paris street bistro. The hunter pulled the chair out and did his best to settle in, though he obviously a tad larger than the set was intended for. Still, Alec picked up the steaming beverage and took a sip without another word. If he enjoyed it or not, he didn’t show it. Something was clearly off about the hunter.

Magnus didn’t sigh out loud. “What’s wrong?” he asked.

Alexander shook his head mutinously. “Nothing.”

The warlock felt his eyes narrow dangerously. Usually Alexander was very embodiment of maturity and good manners. It was rare for Magnus to be reminded of exactly how young the hunter was. “Tell me the problem,” he said logically. “And I’ll come up with a solution. I can give you anything you desire.”

Whatever the hunter craved, Magnus would be all too happy to provide it.

“My freedom?” Alec asked, expression mildly hopeful.

Except that.

The warlock gestured around to the city. “You may go anywhere in the world in here,” he said.

Alexander sent him a disdainful look as he set the teacup down. The saucer rattled with the force of the impact, but Magnus wouldn’t allow Alec’s anger to sway him. “I can not allow you to leave.”

The hunter’s look was incredulous. “Why? You keep me locked up in a single room. I don’t know anything about your plans, your palace, or even you, really.”

And Magnus wished to keep it that way. There were things in his past that would horrify someone as pure as Alexander Lightwood.

The hunter reached out and rested his hand over Magnus’s. “Please.”

He looked down at the fingers resting over his. At any other time, such a gesture would have been welcome, but now . . . when his lover was attempting to manipulate him. Magnus dragged his gaze back up to the hunter and Alec flinched back as the warlock's normally pale yellow cat-like eyes flashed black for the barest of seconds in anger.

The illusion around them shattered, the city falling to pieces and disappearing.

“The answer is no, Alexander.”

Magnus got up and the table and chair disappeared as well, causing the hunter to fall onto the ground. Alec hastily got back up again, following as Magnus made his way out of the illusionary space and back into the bedroom.

Just as he stepped through, a hand around his arm. “Please, Magnus! I—I just want to see my family.”

The warlock grimaced, shrugging the other man off. “This discussion is over.”

Alec came around to face him, his head shaking. “You won’t even talk to me!”

A muscle jumped in Magnus’s cheek. “What is there to talk about? You’re my prisoner—an enemy combatant in an on-going war.”

“That you fuck nearly every night,” Alec said spitefully.

Magnus raised a brow at the foul language. It was not something he’d ever heard from the dignified hunter before. “And what does that say about you, shadowhunter?” he asked with a sneer.

Alec seemed to realize that this method wasn’t working so he tried something else. “It doesn’t have to be like this, Magnus. The Clave wants peace—we can work something out—”

The warlock shook his head at the naivety of baby hunters. “You’re talking about things you can’t even begin to comprehend, Alexander. If I let you go, I will never see you again, and that— that I will not allow.”

For once Alexander was silent, clearly unsure of how to handle the admission. He hadn’t meant to be so honest—at least not yet. Such possessive emotions might be common among demons, but mortals tended to shy away when they felt pushed. Perhaps now Alec could finally understand the depths of how selfish Magnus truly was.

“You’re mine, Alexander,” he said reinforcing his words. Alec’s mouth hung open in shock even as Magnus advanced on him, driving him towards the bed. “My prisoner . . . my lover,” he added with a whisper, pulling them close together. “My angel.”

Alexander shook his head. “Please, this can’t just be about sex. I can’t keep doing this.”

The warlock’s eyes flashed in irritation. “You are asking for something that is impossible for me to give you.”

The words were said, but even then, Magnus wasn’t entirely sure what it was that Alec was looking for. Love? A relationship? Anything that involved Magnus thinking of anyone besides himself? The warlock questioned his own ability to even feel such things, but then . . . this was Alexander.

“I’m not trying to change you, Magnus,” Alec breathed out. “But it doesn’t have to only be your way!”

Magnus snorted. “As opposed to what? Your way? Rainbows and puppies for everyone as we all kiss and make up and forget the genocide your people attempted to inflict on the downworld?”

The hunter’s nostrils flared in anger. “Is that what you think about when you’re with me? Have you been blaming me for what he did this entire time?”

Magnus sent him a withering look. “If I did, you’d have been dead long ago.”

Alec reared back, shoving the warlock away. “You . . . how are you like this?” he asked, voice catching in disappointed sadness.

The warlock crossed his arms over his chest. “Centuries of living in hell will do that to a person, Alexander. I didn’t grow up in your sheltered Idris or even on this plane of existence. Edom is where I was reared.”

“You . . . you never act this way with me,” Alec whispered, looking away. The young man’s shoulders had sagged down and his eyes carried a sorrow that Magnus hadn’t seen since that first night when he’d confessed his intentions to die in battle.

Magnus hated that look on the hunter’s face—hated himself for putting it there. “And you’re an expert, now?” he asked harshly. “After sleeping with me for a few months? I am a warlock! The son of Asmodeus! I’m not some soft mewling mortal boy for you to grow old with!”

Alec looked back up then, the blood draining from his face. Magnus took a breath, calming himself. He regretted his words but wouldn’t apologize.

The warlock gestured around. “This sanctuary that I’ve built for you . . . perhaps it has allowed you to forget what I am.”

Alec didn’t respond at first, his gaze never wavering from Magnus’s. “Did you forget what I am, too? I know I’m mortal. I’ll die and you—you’ll continue to go on. I know that whatever this is . . . it’s not forever—but it doesn’t have to be something so ugly either.”

Not forever.  The words echoed through Magnus's mind.  I’m keeping this—this boy locked up in my palace—jealously guarding him from every person who could possibly turn him from me. Coveting his affection and devotion. There was nothing ugly about Alec, but Magnus knew that within himself was something hideous. They would never grow old together, this much was true, but that cruel selfishness that seethed within him . . . It despised the thought of letting Alexander go.

The hunter had turned away from him, clearly hurt by the direction of the conversation. Magnus contemplated leaving—stepping out and returning at a later date, but . . . he didn’t wish to leave Alexander like that, but he also wasn’t sure what to say. He’d never . . . never felt the need to comfort anyone before.

“I am very old, Alexander. I’ve seen men and gods rise and fall . . . I’ve done both great and terrible things . . . I’ve never been shamed by my actions, and I will not be, now.”

Alec sighed. “I just . . . I’ve never met anyone like you before, and I don’t—I don’t know what this is or what to do—what you want from me.”

There was a thread of defeat that ran through Alec’s words. Mangus examined it and his own feelings. He had wanted this—this last gasp of independence from Alec. The end of the hunter and the beginning of his lover.

This had been his goal from the start.

But . . .

“I only want,” he began, fingers trembling by his side in disgust at his own weakness. “I only want what you’ll give to me—freely. I accept everything that you are, Alexander, if you’ll accept everything that I—that I am.”

The hunter turned back, eyes wide at the confession. The room was quiet as they stared at one another, and then Magnus saw the hesitant smile that curled Alexander’s lips. It was . . . a breathtaking sight, he decided—worth such a small baring of his shriveled soul.

Alec advanced on him and pressed their mouths together.  Their arms came around each other, pushing, pulling and grinding together. Magnus’s shirt fell open as Alexander pulled on it, exposing his throat and chest.

“How are you like this?” Alec asked again as he mouthed the junction of Magnus’s neck and shoulder. The hunter’s voice was a strained whisper, and the words were the same but the question was entirely different. Magnus felt his heart speed up—felt the way it pounded against his chest and his gasping breaths had Alec looking up in concern.

“What’s wrong?” the hunter asked and Magnus shook his head, pulling back slightly.

“It’s . . . what is this?” he wondered aloud, his hand coming up to touch his chest.

Alec watched him, his own fingers grazing the skin of Mangus’s chest and he had to feel the hammering pressure of the warlock’s heart as it threatened to beat out of his chest.

“You . . .” Alexander began as his hands came up and cupped Magnus’s face. “Don’t think too hard on it,” Alec said kindly and Magnus hated that he appreciated the hunter’s words—that he wasn’t using that word to describe what was clearly happening.

I can’t . . . not him . . . not anyone . . .

He leaned in and kissed Alexander again. The hunter kept the kiss from deepening too far and he eventually pulled away.

“I . . . I need to get a shower after—after my run,” Alec said.

Magnus raised a brow. Clearly there would be no sex tonight, but he nodded anyway and let his hands drop, watching Alexander turn and walk away. This conversation—perhaps it had been a long time coming. His rapidly developing feelings towards Alexander were . . . were unprecedented for the warlock.

It was never supposed to have gone this far, he thought. And now he was even having doubts about continuing the war. It had intensified as the months passed, and Alexander’s kidnapping seemed to have put the other hunters on edge. They’d begun striking on warlock strongholds specifically rather than the downworlder lairs that were far easier to take.

He’d never breathe a word of this to Alexander—never mention the blonde commander that lead these clandestine attacks . . . ones not sanctioned by the Clave. The higher-up in Idris were growing increasingly frustrated with the fracturing of power and control within the nephilim hierarchy. Many of their warriors and leaders no longer directly followed their orders.

The Clave had little in the way of power to back up their edicts, and now the one commander who had followed their decrees to the letter was missing. The hunters knew he was alive, of course. The parabatai rune still remained burned into Alec’s side—a glaring reminder of another that lived within Alec’s heart. It chafed at Magnus every time he saw it, but for now, he allowed it to remain.

The uncertainty of Alexander’s safety—the precarious and altogether ominous nature of his continued captivity coupled with a lack demands in exchange for his return . . . And Magnus—ever the exhibitionist—had not once even gloated over the battlefield. His silence on the matter seemed to worsen the morale even further.

Which had been precisely the point.

He couldn’t help but think back to the meeting he’d had earlier in the day. The leaders of the downworld had converged on his palace seeking his council—his permission to take the war in another direction. The other downworlders were growing tired of the fighting—not that they really did much of that, anymore. After the heavy tribute required by Asmodeus, the vast bulk of battles were fought using demons.

They’d all sat around the wide table in Magnus’s strategy room. He’d admit to finding most downworlders rather tedious—their ceaseless and pointless demands had long since lost their ability to move him. And so his mind had drifted to Alexander rather than the meeting. Perhaps that evening, he would summon the hunter’s battle armor and fuck him in it.

“We wished to remove the Clave’s power over us, not kill every single hunter,” Raphael had said softly, and Magnus blinked slowly as he realized that they were all looking towards him for an answer.

The werewolf’s brow was raised as though he knew that Magnus hadn’t been paying attention, while the the seelie queen’s empty gaze was plastered to her glass. She didn’t agree—at least outwardly—on the matter, but her silence spoke volumes.

Magnus had heard these rumblings in recent months, but this was the first time that any of the leaders had actually said something to him about it. “We are on the verge of winning this war. Idris will fall in but a few short months.”

Which was true. The warlocks that served him were already well underway in their efforts to take down the protective magics around Idris. Once those last shields fell, there would be nothing standing between his forces and the complete destruction of the nephilim. That had always been the goal, but now those who’d signed the contract were attempting to change the terms.

The werewolf spoke up. “If we destroy Idris and kill them all—We’re no better than Valentine—or what he claimed us to be.”

It always came back to that dead shadowhunter. Magnus had never had the pleasure as Valentine had been long dead by the time Magnus had joined the fray. The warlock did, however, remember seeing the body strung up outside the gates of Idris, spells cast upon the corpse to keep it fresh and unmovable for centuries to come.

A reminder to the hunters of what their own hubris had wrought.

Still . . . Magnus did not like to renege on a deal. “You should know that the pact you made with my father—it is binding. You were backed into a corner by the hunters, your clans and packs scattered as they threatened to overwhelm you, and in your moment of desperation, you asked us for our help.”

His tone was light—unconcerned—but they all heard the threat that lay beneath the surface.

“Things have changed,” the seelie queen said. “Our positions are not as they were. The hunters can still be of use to the downworld.”

Magnus pursed his lips, his thoughts trailing to Alexander. He never spoke of the war to the hunter, but Alec had to know that his people were losing . . . badly. It was only a matter of time before the nephilim were all completely annihilated.

All but Alec Lightwood, anyway.

“I will . . . consider your words,” he’d said carefully before bringing the meeting to an end. It was not the answer they sought, but it was all they would get from him . . . for now.

As Magnus stared at the partially open bathroom door and listened to the rush of water just beyond, he felt a conflict brewing within himself. Alexander was the type to seek death because life was unbearable for him.

Which meant he would almost assuredly seek to end his own life when he learned that everyone he loved was dead. When that parabatai rune vanished from his skin, he would break. The hunter cared so much. His loyalty and devotion to his family would not allow him to continue his relationship with the warlock responsible for their deaths—no matter what he felt for Magnus.

But then . . . if he called off the war . . . An end to the war would mean the end of their relationship. What cause—what right —would he have to continue to hold the other man captive?

Magnus got up and walked to the open door, pushing it open. Alexander was facing away from him, but the warlock could see the entire stretch of his naked body as he washed his hair beneath the spray of the over-head shower.

Mine, he thought, jaw clenching at the thought of ever releasing the hunter.

The warlock backed away before Alexander noticed him and opened a portal. He stepped into his strategy room once more and looked over the plans for Idris. While he hated it when deals and favors were squandered, he was not entirely inflexible.

Ideas swirled inside his mind as he contemplated the direction of the war. It would have to end with a favorable outcome for the downworld, and even now, Magnus still had more souls to gather to appease Asmodeus, but the downworlders would have their truce . . .

In time.

Chapter Text

“How long have I been here?”

It was the first thing Magnus heard when he portaled into Alec’s— their quarters. He grimaced, looking anywhere but at the hunter who lounged back on the sofa. The space had expanded considerably as Mangus spent more and more time there and bore little resemblance to the cell it had once been.

Where there was once only a bed, some small bits of furniture, and lavatory, there was now a full suite of amenities branching off into various training rooms for Alexander as well as areas for more leisurely activities such as the sauna and full bath house. The hunter even had proper platforms for his box jumps now and no longer used the coffee table. Anything Magnus could grant to Alexander in order to stave off questions like these.

“Does it matter?” the warlock asked instead, pulling off his overcoat and coming around to face his lover. Alec didn’t move so Magnus shrugged and lifted the other man’s feet, sitting down beneath them.

“I can’t even track the days. There aren’t any damn windows—” Alec began heatedly, but Magnus was quick to cut him off.

“And whose fault is that?” he asked with a tilt of his head.

There had been a window in the beginning—a small thing above the shower. A small thing that Alec had tried to use repeatedly to escape. It lead nowhere, of course. Even when Alec had eventually succeeded in scaling the wall, he would simply drop back into the bed when his feet touched the ground. Magnus hadn’t thought much of it in the beginning, but when the hunter had broken his leg in one of these attempts, the warlock had removed the opening altogether.

Alexander sent him a disdainful glance. “I hadn’t even met you, yet. You were still hiding in the shadows watching me.”

Magnus shrugged. “I won’t apologize for the way I conduct myself with pris—honored guests.”

The hunter sat up, his feet leaving Magnus’s lap and coming to land on the floor. The warlock found himself inexplicably missing the weight even as his gaze met Alexander’s.

“Do I not provide everything you could possibly need?” he asked, gesturing around the room.

Alec shook his head. “Stop changing the subject. How long have I been here?”

Magnus took a breath before sighing. “Thirteen months,” he said.

“Thir—a year? I’ve been here a year?”

“Yes.”

Alexander had never asked him this question because truly, he didn’t want to know. While his hunter lover was leisurely spending his days jogging along the Great Wall of China, eating the finest cuisine offered from around the world, and laying in the softest bed known to man while Magnus made love to him . . .

His people were still at war.

Alexander hadn’t wanted to be reminded of the situation outside, and Magnus did his level best to ensure that Alec had plenty of things to distract and entertain him in this little world he’d created for them.

“The war . . . how is it going?”

Magnus raised a brow. Clearly, he hadn't been doing enough to divert the hunter's attention if all these questions were now bubbling up after so long. Alec hadn’t asked about the war in a long time. At first, he’d grilled Magnus every time they saw one another, but even that had slowed as the news became more dire for the hunters.

Magnus pursed his lips in thought. What to say? What to disclose? Where did he want this conversation to lead?

He looked at Alexander's anxious face. “We are considering offering up a truce,” he said at last.

This brought Alec up short. “What?”

The warlock shrugged. “It won’t be anytime soon—the Clave still has far too much influence over the other hunters.”

“The Clave? The Clave is what’s stopping you?”

“Yes. The downworld does not wish for the complete annihilation of the shadowhunters. They were ready to offer a peace treaty months ago, however I won’t allow for the Clave to remain in power over the Nephilim—not as they are now, anyway.”

Alexander blinked in confusion. “The Clave is the very foundation of the shadowhunters. They maintain our traditions—our culture—”

“Their bigotry and short-sightedness?” Magnus asked flatly.

Alec clenched his teeth as he came around the bed. “There’s far more to shadowhunters than that.”

Magnus considered the other man for a moment. He took Alexander’s hand into his own, holding it for a few seconds before bringing it up to brush a kiss over his knuckles.

“I’m well aware that the hunters have produced great beauty, Alexander,” he said softly.

The hunter’s face flushed but he didn’t pull away. “I’m serious, Magnus. Our entire society is based on the structure provided by the Clave. The law is hard—”

The warlock chuckled, cutting him off. “But it’s the law. I know. The problem is that that the Clave has grown lazy in their assurance of power. They used the law as a shield to avoid responsibility for Valentine.”

Alexander’s lips thinned. “Valentine acted without the Clave’s knowledge or consent!”

“But not without their approval—shadowed as it was,” Magnus said slowly. “Tell me Alexander, how many slanderous words have you heard—have you said —in the hallowed halls of your capital about the downworlders? I know what they call me, but the vampires—bored decedent self-involved creatures of unrestrained lust, and werewolves, slaves to their impulses . . . yes?”

The hunter reared back as though struck and looked away.

Magnus shrugged. “Perhaps they didn’t think Valentine would take it so far—Heaven knows they never thought the downworld would eventually be backed so far into a corner that they would lash out with the help of Asmodeus.”

“No,” Alexander said flatly. “They never thought it would go this far.”

“But it has, and has anything changed in Idris?”

Alexander sighed and if there was one thing that Magnus adored about Alexander, it was his, albeit begrudging, honesty. “No.”

Magnus leaned in and brushed a kiss over Alec’s lips, gratified that the hunter didn’t try to pull away. “It’ll be alright, Alec, I promise.”

The hunter shook his head. “You can’t make that kind of promise. This is a war . . . things—terrible things—they happen all the time.”

“Alexander,” Magnus said chidingly. “I’m a warlock. All things are possible.”

Alec looked at him then, his gaze telling Magnus something that the warlock could not quite understand, but a pool of warmth formed in his stomach. It was an unfamiliar sensation, but not altogether unwelcome.  He smiled, stealing another kiss and deepening their connection. His hand came up and cupped Alec’s face as the hunter reached over and clutched his shirt. A snap of Magnus’s fingers had them naked and Alexander shivered as his newly bared flesh was hit by the cool air of the room.

“I need you,” Magnus whispered, pushing the hunter against the sofa back while he pulled away and dropped to his knees between Alexander’s spread legs. Alec’s jaw was hanging open as Magnus leaned down and took him into his mouth. The hunter’s erection was heavy and fragrant against his tongue and Magnus dragged his fingers along the skin of Alec’s inner thighs, infusing him with a bit of magic that had the hunter’s back bowing up. He felt Alexander’s fingers in his hair and made the light sucking sounds that seemed to turn Alec on even more. Each little noise brought out a new shutter that had Alec panting with need.

He eventually pulled off with a popping noise and pushed Alec back. The hunter gave him a look of confusion for a few seconds as Magnus settled astride him. He reached back and crooked his fingers into himself, filling his passage with lube and relaxing the muscles.  He’d never taken such a short-cut with Alec—he enjoyed prepping the other man too much to give up the pleasure of watching Alexander fall apart under his tender ministrations.

“You . . .” Alexander began, his hands reaching up.

Magnus merely smiled before positioning himself and sinking down onto Alec’s cock. It was . . . such a full feeling. He’d not indulged in sex in this fashion in more than two centuries, but Alec . . . He wanted Alec to experience everything that Magnus had to offer.

He moved his hips in a steady rhythm and moaned as Alexander’s hands moved over his chest and nipples, before finally landing on his cock. The other man spit into his own fingers before reaching down and taking Magnus’s erection into his hand. He moved with the same speed that the warlock had adopted and it was enough to have Mangus spread his fingers over the center of Alec’s sternum.

The hunter’s eyes widened as he felt the familiar immersion of magic into his body. It was not the pleasure-inducing kind but something else.

“Magnus—” he began, his pupils dilating, but the warlock shook his head.

“Don’t worry. It was just a taste,” the warlock said, his voice raspy and jarring.

The magic did its job quickly and soon Mangus found himself pushed to the side, his head hitting the armrest as he was positioned onto his back. The hunter was quickly over him, throwing one of Magnus's legs over his shoulder and pistoning in and out like a well oiled machine. His arms came around Alexander’s back and he reveled in the way the other man’s muscles moved beneath his skin as they strained with the effort to keep up the force of his thrusts.

By now Alec had stopped stroking him—intent only on his own pleasure—so Magnus reached down and took his cock in hand, bringing himself off in a few short minutes. He practically melted into the cushions after the orgasm began to subside, but Alexander apparently wasn’t done yet. He continued to move, his shoulders trembling as he held himself up and Magnus just laid there and let the other man continue on.

The somewhat painful burn of post-orgasm sensitivity was enjoyable to him—as was the feeling that he was being used by the other man. Very few, if any, could force Magnus to do anything. He feared no one and reveled in the power he held over all. And yet, on occasion, having someone like Alec pant and groan and shake above him while giving no quarter to Magnus’s own pleasure—that was its own fantasy.

Alexander eventually shuttered and his hips fell out of their rhythm as he finally came within Magnus. The hunter’s heavy breathing was a symphony to Magnus and he smiled as the other man all but collapsed over him.  They each had a leg hanging off the sofa, and it wasn’t the most comfortable of positions, but the warlock couldn't bring himself to care. Instead, he held onto Alec even tighter, one hand coming up to card his fingers through his lover's hair.

He’d have to magic clean the cushions later to get the stains and smell out, he thought absently. Alec was breathing rather wetly into Magnus’s neck and the room was quiet save for the occasional huff against the warlock’s skin.

“You told me you wouldn’t do that again.” There was no anger in Alexander’s voice, but the disappointment cut through Magnus’s post-coital haze anyway.

Magnus licked his lips. “It was nothing, Alexander—just a little loosening of your inhibitions—”

The hunter pulled away and looked at him. “I told you I don’t like that. I don’t want to be—be so unhinged with you. I know I . . .” Alec trailed off, his jaw tightening.

“What?” Magnus asked.

Alexander’s brows furrowed. “I hurt you.”

The warlock felt his face and feelings softening. “You didn’t do anything I didn’t want you to do, Alexander.”

Alec shook his head. “I don’t . . . I don’t want to hurt you. Don’t do that again.”

Magnus sighed before nodding. “Fine. No more magical aphrodisiacs—unless it’s what you want.”

He was careful to specify the constraints of the promise—he was a warlock after all. As it was, the hunter nodded and they laid there a bit longer before Alec finally pulled himself off of Magnus. The warlock watched as his lover cracked his back, muscles stretching and contracting under his pale skin.

Magnus stood up as well. “I was thinking . . . perhaps you should have a bit more freedom within my palace,” he said softly.

At this Alexander looked back up at him, confusion clear over his features. “What?”

The warlock smiled furtively. “It’s been several months and I anticipate several more months before the war ends . . . years perhaps. I’ve decided to give you the opportunity to prove I can trust you.”

Alexander stared at him for a moment, confusion warring with hope on his face. “Why? Why would you do that?”

Magnus tilted his head. “Have I misjudged you, Alexander?” he asked and the hunter swallowed, picking up on the warlock’s meaning. Something was there between them. After all these months spent together, there was no denying that they both felt something for one another.

The question, Magnus had decided, was how much of it hinged on Alec’s captivity. He’d long since decided that Alec would stay with him indefinitely, war or no war, and Alexander’s affection had become something that he coveted. But . . . while he’d never engaged in the strategy of turning a captive into an ally, the idea . . . stockholm syndrome, he believed it was called. If that was the cause of Alexander's feelings . . .

He needed to know that their relationship would still stand after Alec was given back at least some freedom.

“You’ll be limited to the palace grounds and a guard will follow you, but . . . you’ll have the freedom to move around,” he said, moving towards the bed. Alec followed close behind, his hand coming out to touch Magnus’s arm.

“Thank you,” Alexander said after a moment’s hesitation. His eyes moved absently around the room as though he somehow was having trouble understanding anything beyond these walls. Magnus swallowed. He should have offered up this freedom sooner.

The warlock sat down on the bed, his hand coming out to pat the spot beside him. Alec sat down and Magnus took his hand. He eyed the parabatai rune for a second before turning his attention back to Alec’s hand. He allowed his fingers to rest over the skin there and the hunter gasped softly as Magnus’s hand warmed and a spell was performed.

He took his hand away and revealed a small mark—his own.

Alec blinked, looking down at the stylized cat’s eye that was etched into the skin on the back of his hand. “Did you just . . . did you just brand me?” he asked before shaking his head. “So much for trust.”

Magnus allowed his fingers to move over the mark. “A protection spell, Alexander. My palace is not a safe place for wandering hunters. If your heart rate spikes or you experience a heightened sense of anxiety, I will know. The spell has built in protective defenses as well.”

Alec continued to eye the mark, his fingers absently coming up to graze across the parabatai rune that still remained burned into his side. Magnus’s eyes narrowed. He hated that mark—hated that his lonely hunter lover had someone he cared about so much that he’d consent to such a binding.

This last year, Magnus had kept a careful eye on Alexander’s family and his parabatai. His lover’s parents and younger brother never left the safety of Idris, but Isabelle Lightwood and Jace Harondale had begun leading a deluge of missions as they searched for Alexander.  The Harondale boy was becoming increasingly erratic in his decisions—a disconcerting turn of events considering that Jace was leading the shadowhunter faction that Mangus had hoped to install when the Clave finally lost all support within the nephilim community.

Without the tempering influence of his parabatai, Jace Harondale was a bomb waiting to go off. And with Alexander now missing, his focus had shifted away from undermining the Clave’s orders to finding Alec.

The warlock would need to shift Jace’s attention back to shadowhunter politics if he hoped to succeed in his goal of dismantling the Clave from the inside. Magnus’s finger moved ever so subtly to touch the parabatai mark before pulling away abruptly.

Not yet . . .

Chapter Text

Alexander had been wandering the halls for hours already as he looked around the palace. Three months had passed since Magnus had loosened the leash. Alec still felt it, but he’d figured that even baby steps were better than no headway at all when it came to the warlock. For now, he’d settled on spending his days wandering the maze-like hallways, mentally mapping out the rooms and corridors. Even after so many days, he was still discovering new places within the never-ending palace grounds.

The place was oddly quiet no matter what part of the compound he was in. the only sounds he heard with any consistency were his own footsteps and the skittering and clicking of his ‘guard’. Alec hadn’t actually seen the guard except for once. The ceilings of the palace tended to be high and unnaturally dark. The . . . creature usually stayed within the confines of the shadows above.

It had shown itself once when one of Magnus’s demons had gotten too close to Alec.

Alec had never seen its like before. Thin papery wet skin stretched taut and grey over lean muscle, while massive leathery wings and yellow eyes that had no eyelids watched him even as it sank its gaping maw into the flesh of the unfortunate demon. There was a chilling intelligence in its eyes that still sent shutters through Alec just thinking about it.

“Are you looking for Magnus?” a voice called to him.

The hunter was shaken from the memory and he looked down into a darkened passage only for it to light up with a flash of blue and white. Not the standard portal, but then Catarin wasn’t a standard warlock. She stepped into the main hall and tilted her head with a smile.

“No,” he said with a shake of his head, “I know he was meeting with other downworlders today.”

Catarina had never been overly aggressive or rude to him, but he couldn't shake the feeling that she thought of him as less than an insect with a lifespan to match. Still, he did his best to keep their interactions as civil as possible.

“Oh . . . The vampires?” she asked, her face thoughtful. “They left over an hour ago. He’s alone now.”

The note of sincerity that he heard gave him a pause as he eyed her. Alec didn’t believe her for a second. “That’s alright. I think I’m going to head back to my quarters—”

“That’s your choice, of course. Far be it for me to stop you,” she said as she walked away.

He watched her go, suspicion brewing in his mind. What was she playing at now? He turned to head towards his rooms—even started walking there . . . but he paused, turning back around to face the end of the corridor where Magnus’s office was. He’d yet to step foot in the warlock’s inner sanctum. Magnus hadn’t warned him off the room per se, but he’d said there were dangerous things found within.

But Magnus was in there already.

Just once, he went against his better judgement. So what if there were vampires in there? He was a shadowhunter, a commander of his own battalion. Even without his runes, he was no slouch when it came to dealing with downworlders. The hunter began walking towards the office, the light patter of his guard trailing along the ceiling following close at hand. If there was a serious danger, the guard would protect him as well.

There was nothing to fear, he thought. That’s what he told himself as he pushed the door open.

Alec wasn’t sure what he expected to see. Spell books, potion ingredients, monsters prowling about, perhaps. There was none of that. The room was lit by fire and candle light, the atmosphere cozy with great brown leather chesterfield sofas and wine red rugs over dark wood floors. It was entirely Magnus’s style and the warlock looked perfectly at home as he lounged on the sofa sipping wine. Those cat-like eyes met his, going wide before moving away, and that’s when Alec heard it.

“Angel blood,” a second voice whispered, and Alec looked to the side, his gaze finding a dark-haired vampire.

Raphael, he remembered. The New York clan leader who’d taken over after Camille had sacrificed herself in tribute to Asmodeus. He’d never actually met Raphael, even before the war had broken out, but he was aware of the vampire’s physical prowess as well as his considerable influence in the downworld.

Raphael’s fangs dropped as a snarl ripped from his mouth. “Shadowhunter!”

The vampire came at him, but Magnus appeared as if stepping from mist before Alexander, sweeping his hand and throwing Raphael back into a wall. The picture that had hung there along with the side table both split open at the impact and whatever glass decorations that had sat upon the table shattered as well. Another man that Alec had failed to notice sped towards the vampire’s side, his face worried.

Alexander’s brow furrowed as he recognized the other man—but it couldn’t be him . . .

“Raphael?” the man asked anxiously as Alec blinked in stunned confusion. His fingers were turning the vampire’s head this way and that inspecting the clan leader for injury. All the while the vampire continued to glare at him.

“Simon?” Alec asked hesitantly and the hunter watched as the other man froze. He turned back around and faced Alexander, blinking as though unable to believe what he was seeing.

“Alec?” he asked with a furrowed brow. “Alec Lightwood?”

Simon stood up, helping Raphael to his feet as well. Alexander took a step forward his hand coming up in disbelief. Simon stepped forward as well, but Raphael was already wrapping his hand around Simon’s arm, stopping him, while Magnus stepped forward to block Alec’s path.

“How do you know the Daylighter, Alexander?” the warlock asked, his brow raised and his voice flat. There was something vaguely accusatory in his tone that Alec didn’t care for.

The hunter felt his brow furrow in confusion as his gaze met Magnus’s. “Daylighter?” he asked, searching his mind for the origin of the familiar word.

Magnus’s lips thinned. “Answer the question, Alexander.”

Alec blinked rapidly, looking from Magnus to Simon. “He’s—he was a friend of Clary’s . . . But he vanished years ago,” he said before swallowing. “We all thought he was dead.”

The tension in Magnus’s face eased ever so slightly. “So you had nothing to do with his captivity?”

The question had Alec looking back over at Magnus in surprise. “What? Captivity?”

Simon finally spoke then, his voice cutting through the silent accusations. “No! Magnus—Alec would never do that!”

Alec raised his eyes back over to Simon. “What happened?” he asked. It had been a great mystery to the hunters for many years. Clary’s friend had simply vanished. No body, no messages, no closure.

“I’m a . . .” Simon began before letting his fangs fall. “I’m a vampire, but I can walk in the sun.”

Daylighter, Magnus had called him.

Alec stepped around Magnus and tried to move towards Simon but a feral growl from Raphael had him pausing. “When you disappeared, Clary and Jace questioned everyone—even the vampires,” he said, trying to understand.

Simon shook his head. “I don’t know what happened. I was turned, but left to die in the sun . . . I don’t know why I didn’t die . . . only that Valentine found me soon after.”

A muscle in Raphael’s face jumped at the mention of the long dead ex-hunter. The clan leader stepped around to face Simon, his hand coming up to grip the side of Simon’s waist. The two seemed to share a moment—a fleeting few seconds that meant something to just them.

Alec sighed, feeling himself deflating. He remembered how uncaring he’d been about Simon—convinced that the mundane would show up at some point like a cockroach. With the war brewing, he’d had far bigger problems to address than one missing mundane. He’d allowed Clary and Jace to look for Simon on their own time—had know even then that the pair were rarely sleeping between their duties and the hours they spent combing downworld lairs and the streets looking for her friend. Six months later, when Simon had still failed to materialize, he’d realized how wrong he’d been, and by then it was too late to do anything.

Looking at Simon now, guilt had begun eating away at Alec. “I’m so sorry, Simon . . . Clary . . . she was devastated.”

The Daylighter looked away from Raphael and back towards him. “I can never return to the institute or trust the hunters again . . . It’s better if she never knows that we’re fighting on opposing sides of the war.”

Whatever Simon had been through—he was entirely different from the cheerful dorky mundane that he used to be. In that moment Alec wasn’t sure if it wouldn’t have been better for him to have been dead all these years rather than suffering under the callous hand of Valentine.

Raphael turned to face them, but he directed his attention to Magnus. “I knew I smelled angel blood on you, but I never imagined . . . Why are you harboring a hunter in your palace, Magnus?”

The warlock’s face was flat. “That’s really none of your concern, Raphael,” Magnus said evenly.

Raphael did not seem inclined to agree. “There is a war on and you’re conspiring with the enemy—”

Magnus snorted. “Alexander is not the enemy.”

The vampire shook his head belligerent. “You would risk everything for a some bit of mortal tail—”

Raphael was cut off as Magnus’s power engulfed his throat, lifting him off the ground. The warlock’s eyes glowed with malice as his two fingers turned ever so slightly, threatening to snap the vampire’s neck.

“I am fond of you, Raphael,” he said slowly. “But do not mistake a mild affection for some misplaced sense of equality between us.”

He dropped the vampire, his face a mask of indifference. “You’ll be mindful of your words from now on.”

Alec stood beside Magnus even as the warlock threaded their fingers together. He looked down at their joined hands and the intimacy of the gesture—what it meant to those watching —was not lost on Alec. He squeezed Magnus’s hand a little tighter.

“We were done, anyway. I assume you two can see yourselves out,” Magnus said dismissively before turning and pulling Alexander from the room.

Neither said anything as they walked down the hall towards their quarters, but with each step Alec grew anxious. Was Mangus mad at him for what happened? They’d clearly been discussing something.

“I’m sorry about barging in like that. I didn’t know—” he began quietly and Magnus paused then, his steps faltering as he came to a stop. The warlock turned around to face him, dropping Alec’s hand, and instead wrapping both hands around Alexander’s biceps.

“I’m not angry, Alexander,” he said, cat-like eyes glowing in the din. “But I had hoped to keep you away from the downworlders that come here. Like Raphael, most wouldn’t hesitate to kill you.”

“Didn’t you say that the downworlders wanted a truce?” he asked.

“While Raphael and the others are interested in ending the war, that won’t stop them or anyone else from killing a potential enemy.”

“Raphael . . .” Alec said slowly, his voice trailing off. “He’s the leader of the New York clan.”

Magnus nodded, even as he twirled his fingers and an portal appeared. They stepped through and into their chambers. Alec smelled dinner before he saw it, but he wasn’t hungry.

“What is Simon doing with him?” he asked. Daylighter or not, Simon had seemed . . . close to Raphael, and if the most powerful vampire leader in the downworld was taking Simon around with him into Magnus’s palace . . .

The warlock pursed his lips and looked longingly towards the anterior room where dinner had already been set out. Alec raised a brow and Magnus rolled his eyes as he sat gracefully down onto the sofa. He conjured the wine he’d been drinking earlier from the air and took a sip before replying.

“The Daylighter was rather sparse with the details of what happened to him. To understand what he is to Raphael, you need to understand the circumstances of their first . . . meeting.” Magnus paused as he took another sip. “And I’m not sure that you’d want to know about that.”

Alec licked his lips as he sat down beside Magnus, before nodding hesitantly. “Tell me.”

The warlock hesitated and with a flourish of his fingers he called another glass of wine, offering it up to Alec. The hunter shook his head, but rather than banishing it, Mangus set it down on the coffee table with a shrug.

“Simon was nearly killed by Valentine—tortured for months as that man tried to find out the secret of his ability to walk in the sun. He was catatonic when my forces eventually took that compound. We thought him dead at first until we realized that even with a vampire’s healing ability, whatever he’d been through—whatever had been done to him—it was enough to completely destroy his mind.”

Alexander tried to wrap his mind around that. Simon—effervescently vibrant and incessantly talkative Simon—utterly ruined and tormented until he’d lost his mind . . . by a former shadowhunter. He felt a sense of shame towards his own people. The Clave had disavowed Valentine, but it had obviously been too little too late.

“I handed his body over to Raphael,” Magnus said, continuing. “I assumed that the man would put him out his misery, but instead, he asked for a favor of me.”

Alec looked up. “What favor?”

Magnus slid his eyes away from his wine and onto Alec. “To piece his mind back together.”

Simon hadn’t healed on his own? He’d needed magic?  “It was . . . it was that bad?”

The warlock nodded. “I’m sure you’re aware of the agony rune.”

Alec’s expression died a little at the statement as he nodded.

Magnus replied and Alec hated how dispassionate he sounded when retelling a story that was so tragic. “That was merely the tip of the iceberg. I did not have the time or inclination to assist, but I did broker a deal between Raphael and Catarina. She healed Simon’s mind—took her nearly a year to do so. As for Raphael and Simon’s . . . bond . . .”

The warlock paused again, searching for the right way to phrase the rest of the tale. “I do not know why Raphael sought out our help with a vampire that he didn’t know. I don’t know why he paid so high a price to Catarina, but Simon was unable to care for himself. He couldn’t bath or feed or even move, really. That year that Catarina spent healing Simon’s mind, Raphael fed Simon his own blood, spoke to him even without response, kept him clean and cared for.”

Magnus smiled a bit. “The Daylighter has never looked at another since regaining his senses and they are rarely parted from one another.”

Alec nodded. Simon and Raphael had seemed to be on a whole different level of existence when it came to their own interactions. Simon was different than he’d been before as a mundane. There was an—an emptiness of his expression that spoke of a man unwilling to divulge even his own emotions to the outside world, as though so much had been taken from him that he felt the need to jealously guard what little remained.

Another thought nagged in the back of Alec’s mind. “You know about what happened to him . . . but you asked me if I was involved . . .”

Magnus’s lips thinned in irritation at the question. “Many hunters were involved with Valentine before the Clave officially disavowed him. Most left him then . . . your parent included.”

Alec’s eyes fell shut. He’d always had his suspicions about his parents—their lack of sympathy for the downworlders and lack of remorse for any of the consequences of Valentine’s madness—except that the downworld had eventually learned to fight back.

“But they may not have known about what Valentine was doing to Simon,” he said quietly, guilt eating at him. That was Clary’s friend that had been tortured and left to die.

“Perhaps not,” Magnus allowed, if only to soften this new blow.

The room was quiet again and Alec leaned over and took the wine glass into his hand. He drank deeply and tried to focus on the woodsy flavor of the alcohol rather than his own contrition.

“Simon was always . . . always in love with Clary,” he said absently after downing most of the glass.

Magnus snapped his fingers and both glasses instantly refilled. “Being tortured by her father probably put their relationship into a different light.”

Despite Simon’s wish to remain hidden, Alec could not help but feel that Clary should know that Simon still lived. He was a vampire now—a downworlder but if the war was to ever end, there would need to be some kind of connection made.

Chapter Text

Magnus looked over his plans. Idris was all but surrounded—choked off from the outside world and the shadowhunters were on the verge of abandoning their ancestral home. It was only a matter of time—and Magnus’s very carefully crafted plans—until there would be nowhere for them to go . . . Nothing left for them to bargain with—nothing but what Magnus would generously provide.

The warlock dismissed the pages and sent them to the other downworld leaders. He leaned back in his chair, a smile spreading over his lips as his magic weaved around him in contentment. Things were going exactly the way he’d planned.

Which is when the rune on the back of his hand began tingling.

His eyes widened and he waved his hand, creating a portal. He stepped through, looking around frantically only to spot Alexander leaning halfway out of a tower window. Magnus reached out without a thought, and wrapped his arm around Alec, pulling him back and to the ground. The hunter let out a rather indignant squawk even as he twisted around, his body automatically positioning itself for defense.

Magnus hit the ground first with Alec laying on top of him, on arm raised in a punch, but the young man’s eyes went wide.

“Magnus,” he said, lowering his fist. “What—”

Fear gave way to anger as he took in Alexander’s bewildered expression. “Were you trying to escape?” he asked angrily.

The hunter shook his head quickly. “I didn’t! I was just trying to get a message to my family.”

Magnus raised a brow as he all but shoved his lover off of him. “You shouldn’t have bothered—it was destroyed the second it hit the palace shields.”

Alec looked entirely too crestfallen for Magnus’s liking. He’d done everything for the young man and this was the thanks he received? The warlock got back up to his feet and sure enough, he could feel the remnants of a transport spell disintegrating against the wall of magic that surrounded and protected his home. He looked around and spotted the singed and destroyed stele—only it wasn’t a true stele. The shard of crystal at the end was barely more than a chip—something Magnus would have discarded. It had been haphazardly tied in place to a bit of rosewood from his own gardens.

Even with the latent magic that was infused in everything here, Alexander would have still needed to imbue his own energy into the tool—a process that would have taken at least a month even to complete just one spell. His lover had clearly been hiding this from him for quite some time. Paranoia began to permeate his mind as he wondered what else the hunter had been hiding from him.

Magnus knew his eyes were beginning to flare up with fury. “What the hell, Alexander!”

The hunter swallowed. “I just wanted to let my family know that I’m okay,” Alec said softly as he too got to his feet. “I didn’t spill any secrets—not that I know any—you never let me go anywhere. All I said was that you were treating me well and not to worry about me.

Magnus snorted derisively. “Oh that’s all? Tell my enemies that I’m keeping a shadowhunter pet in my home—a perfect opportunity to spy on me—”

Alec gritted his teeth. “Pet? Are you serious right now?”

The warlock waved a hand, and the broken stele exploded causing the hunter to flinch. “Oh come off it, Alexander. No one in the Clave would believe that I’d taken a shadowhunter as my lover—a willing one at that. They all think warlocks are sex-crazed animals.”

The hunter raised a brow even as he grimaced. “Well you did try and have sex with me using magic the first night we met,” he muttered.

Magnus sent him a withering look, but Alec only smiled in self satisfaction. Much of the warlock’s anger began to evaporate at the sight. He struggled to hold onto it, though. Alexander was the only creature on this Earth that could halt him in his tracks—a weakness that the hunter exploited on occasion—for example: now.

Alec approached him, his hand reaching out to touch Magnus’s fingers soothingly. “Look, I can’t go anywhere, remember? You put that mark on me and I can’t leave the grounds. Even if someone came, I couldn't go with them. I just . . . I just don’t want them to have to wonder about me.”

The warlock looked away as the paranoia slowly seeped back into his mind. Alexander was a dutiful son and brother—working tirelessly on behalf of the Clave in order to increase his family’s standing within the hunter ranks. He’d have done anything for them . . . including die. Yes, family meant everything to Alexander— one member in particular, he thought with a sneer.

“You don’t want your parabatai to wonder, you mean,” Magnus said, lips thinning.

Alec flushed slightly at the accusation, but his own sense of honor prevented him from denying Magnus’s words. “I can feel his . . . his guilt that I was taken. He’s so unhappy. Please, if he keeps up like this, he’ll get himself killed.”

Magnus sighed as he pulled his hand away from Alexander’s. How he hated Jace Harondale. He hadn’t mentioned the last time he’d seen the blonde in battle to Alec—how the man had flown across the battlefield in a rage when his parabatai had been taken.

He’d never tried the love spell again—couldn’t bring himself to risk finding out if Alec still carried those feelings. The two of them had a connection that continued to fill Magnus with a seething jealousy. He feared nothing and no one—not even his own father . . . but the possibility of the blonde hunter saying but a word to Alexander . . . Would it be enough to turn Alec from him? The answer filled him dread—freezing his heart and lungs with despair.

 His eyes slid over to the hunter’s side where Magnus knew the parabatai rune was burned into Alexander’s flesh. Something uncurled within him—something he’d kept well away from his lover. It hissed and spat venom and rage as Magnus felt his magic begin to ooze from his very pores.

“So, if they had cause to stop worrying,” he began slowly. “That would make you happier.”

Alec smiled hesitantly. “Yes,” he said, moving closer to Magnus.

“Warlocks are in the business of making deals—we like to get paid. If I do this . . . what would you give me?” Magnus asked, his voice even.

The hunter blinked in confusion. “What do you want?”

Magnus hummed to himself. “I’ve not decided, but . . . When I make my request, you must do it. No questions asked.”

Alexander swallowed but nodded. “It can’t be anything having that would harm other shadowhunters or affect the war—something just between you and me.”

Magnus smiled. “Of course. It’s a deal then?” he asked, his hand coming up towards Alec. The hunter hesitated for only a second before reaching out and taking it. Magic flared from between their palms and Magnus felt trepidation for only a second before pulling harshly on Alexander. His other hand came up to rest over the hunter’s shirt.

Over the parabatai mark.

“What are you—” The rest of Alec’s question was bitten off as a scream ripped from his throat and his legs gave out from beneath him. The Warlock pushed down his own rising guilt—hurting Alexander like this . . . it was hell—but he wouldn’t be dissuaded from his goal. This was for the best—for both of them.

“They won’t have cause to worry about you anymore, Alexander,” Magnus said softly, pushing more magic into his spell. Within moments, the bond between the two parabatai shattered and Alec fell back onto the floor, his chest heaving as sweat glistened on his brow. His eyes were unfocused and his body unmoving as the warlock hovered over him. The shirt had burned away over the mark, revealing scorched skin that still sizzled. Magnus immediately knelt down, his hand moving quickly over the mark again to heal it, but Alec’s arm suddenly shot out and slapped him away.

Alexander was breathing heavily and there was betrayal in his eyes. “You . . . you broke the bond,” he said tiredly. “They’ll—they’ll think I’m dead.”

The skin beneath Magnus’s eye twitched, but he kept his face carefully neutral. “And thus, they will no longer worry for you. Now let me heal that,” he said briskly and came forward again, but Alec shoved him back.

“Get away from me!”

The warlock sneered. “Alexander. I must heal that while it is still fresh. It will scar otherwise—”

“Let it!” Alec snapped.

Magnus’s eyes narrowed. “A reminder of your true love, perhaps? One last thing to remember him—”

“Fuck you, Magnus! I loved him, alright—at least I thought I did. He was—it was safe to love him because I knew that he could never love me back. But he . . . he’s my brother. My family. They’ll think I’m dead—that you finally killed me.”

Magnus sighed, but didn’t try to approach Alexander again. “Any why should this matter? You’re mine. My lover and companion—”

“Until the war ends,” Alec cut him off and there was a note of something rarely heard in the former commander. Defeat. It nagged at Magnus, but his anger had yet to subside.

The warlock shook his head. “Is that what you were waiting for? Did you think I would hold onto you until this silly little war is over and then just let you go?”

Alec licked his lips, looking anywhere but at Magnus. “There’s no future for warlocks and mortals. I’d tried to forget that, but you said it yourself—We won’t grow old together. My body and mind will fail and I’ll die while you remain the same as you have for hundreds of years—the same as you will be for thousands of years to come.”

The hunter paused and took a steadying breath before continuing. “I expected—hoped—that I would die during this war, but thanks to you, I’ll survive. Maybe I’ll even live a long life, but . . . it’s not enough. You aren’t going to hold on to a weak senile old man fifty years from now.”

Alexander finished speaking, but Magnus was only seeing red. Behind him a glass shattered as the warlock’s jaw twitched in anger. He moved swiftly, body contorting unnaturally as he came to lean over Alec, his hand coming up to squeeze the hunter’s chin in a mockery of their former intimacy. Magic was bleeding from his nose and mouth and he knew that the usual yellow of his eyes had sunk into a crimson red.

His voice was unusually sibilent as his demonic magic threatened to overtake him. “You have no idea what I’m going to do, Alec,” he said before he released the hunter and moved away, opening a portal.

“Magnus!” Alexander called, but he ignored it, stepping through the rift and disappearing. Magnus stepped down into his spell room, slumping into a chair that appeared behind him. It wasn’t their first fight, but it was the first time Magnus had felt the need to step away lest he do something that he would regret later. His anger left him and the effects on his physical body faded.

Of all the differences that could drive them apart—the war, their families, their very species . . . age hadn’t been at the top of his mental list. And geriatric deterioration hadn’t even entered Magnus’s thought process. He was, of course, painfully aware of Alec’s mortality—even more so when they were figuratively on opposing sides of a war. His self-sacrificing hunter had longed for death as a release, but now that very death threatened to ruin everything Magnus had built. He remembered the argument that had spawned this dark line of thought.

I’m not some soft mewling mortal boy for you to grow old with!

The declaration echoed through his thoughts and he wished he could take the words back, but they were true even if they hadn’t been said. Alexander seemed to circle and even embrace his inevitable demise. Magnus thought back to the battlefield.

The young commander had been so determined to save that carrot-headed girl—had succeeded in sacrificing himself. Back then, he’d thought it merely the stupid bravery of the hunters and nothing more . . . not until he’d seen Alexander. If Magnus hadn’t been there that day . . . if he hadn’t had a spark of interest . . . Alexander Lightwood would indeed be gone from this world.

Magnus thought of their time together—more than a year already—a drop in the bucket of centuries that the warlock had seen. So much life, and yet he’d never truly lived—not until Alexander had smiled at him for the first time. The world had fallen away and he’d known that Alec was it for him. There would be no others that would mean as much to him as the baby shadowhunter.

. . . And the idea of his death . . . well, that was not to be borne, he thought.

He heard the shimmering noise of a portal behind him, but didn’t bother looking up from his brooding. The other warlock’s steps echoed through the room as she came around the chair and looked down at him.

Catarina raised a brow. “What has you so tangled up?” she asked as she sat down opposite him.

He contemplated not answering her, but in the end, he shrugged. “Alexander and I had a fight.”

She snorted. “Oh, you had a fight with your captive prisoner. Color me surprised.”

Magnus rolled his eyes. “He’s not my prisoner.”

Catarina made a tsking noise. “You keep him marked so he can’t leave. He’s a prisoner.”

The warlock shook off the lingering guilt over the circumstances of their relationship, his lips thinning. “He thinks I’m going to leave him when he gets old.”

The blue-skinned woman was quiet for a few seconds before responding. “Well, aren’t you?” she asked, her tone confused. Magnus looked up at her, his expression bordering on offended, but she scoffed. “We are not meant to mingle with mortals beyond the passing fling. Ours is a transient and fluid existence while they live only a single life in a single time.”

His jaw tightened. “I won’t give him up.”

“Darling, you’ve only known him a year—”

“I won’t . . . give him up,” he repeated slowly.

Catarina shrugged, seemingly unaffected by his words but the tenseing of her shoulders said otherwise. She was worried for the consequences of a prince of hell falling in love with a mortal—a shadow hunter of all things.

“He . . . I won’t let him die,” Magnus said as he met her eyes.

Her head tilted and a smile pulled at her features. “I can call Raphael right now. He’ll be happy to assist you—”

Magnus shook his head as an idea began to form in his mind. It has been but a wisp of thought for months—never truly solidifying until this moment. “No. I’m not turning Alexander into a vampire. He would never forgive me for depriving him of the sun.”

Catarina flicked her white hair. “Your options are rather limited. Very few races are immortal. Only the angels, the demons, and night children and the warlocks.”

He eyed her intently. “He can not be changed into a demon or an angel, either . . .”

She blinked for a second and he saw understanding dawn on her. “You can not be serious, Magnus . . . The amount of power needed . . .”

The warlock moved his fingers in a flourish, energy crackling around his hand. “But it can be done. I’ve witnessed the ritual.”

Catarina’s lips thinned. “It nearly killed Ragnor—”

“But it didn’t. He still lives, as does his formerly mortal wife—two hundred years later, and there is a key difference between us.”

She raised a brow but gestured for him to continue.

He smiled in satisfaction. “Ragnor’s wife was dying. The time he had to conjure the needed magic was limited—that’s why it drained him so badly. I am not on such a timeline. Alec is young and in perfect health. I have many years still to build this spell.”

She waited patiently for him to finish before speaking again. “There’s still just one problem,” Catarina said placidly.

He tilted his head suspiciously. “What?”

“The blood of the ones who gifted him life need to agree to gift him with a new life.”

Magnus’s face instantly flattened. Yelena, Ragnor’s wife, had had parents that happily did what was needed to save their daughter’s life. He could not expect the same of Alexander’s parents—not without some prompting, anyway.

His eye twitched in irritation before he rested his chin on his knuckles in consideration. “Shadowhunters are such a banal group,” he said thoughtfully. “Easily manipulated. The Lightwoods are no different. I assume you will still assist me in preparing the spell.”

If she’d thought to throw him off his chosen path, she’d thought wrong—a fact she seemed to grasp quickly as she answered. “Of course, Magnus, but . . . this is forever. Are you sure you wish to do so much for this one person?”

He thought over the question carefully. He thought of Alexander’s smiles and the way his body softened beneath the warlock in the afterglow of their lovemaking. He thought of the way Alexander always looked into his eyes, as though the hunter never ceased to be fascinated by his warlock mark, and the way he leaned into Magnus when it was just them reading quietly by the fire.

“Yes. He is worth it.”

She didn’t question him further. Instead she portaled away, no doubt to Ragnor’s manor to question the man on the specifics of the ritual. The Lightwoods would wait, but for now, he needed to secure a demon—a powerful one, that would willingly ‘adopt’ a shadowhunter into his bloodline.

Chapter Text

When Magnus walked into the meeting room and spotted Simon speaking with Alexander, he wasn’t surprised. The daylighter had begun visiting his lover on occasion these days. Magnus had initially felt jealous at the excitement on Alec’s face when their visitor arrived, but he’d long since moved past that.

Alexander was as uninterested in Simon as Magnus was in Raphael.

What surprised him about this particular visit was the third individual in the room. He raised a brow as Raphael raised a glass in greeting from his position on the sofa. The downworlder leader rarely came to Magnus’s palace unless directly summoned.

“Is there something wrong, Raphael?” he asked pointedly.

The vampire set down his glass on the side table before standing. He nodded towards Simon and Alexander as the two looked up from whatever book they were talking about.

“I need to talk to you,” he said as he headed for the door. Magnus said nothing in response but followed behind the dark haired man as they left the room. He felt Alexander’s eyes on them as the door shut, but he didn’t acknowledge the abnormality further. The vampire’s steps were silent as they made their way into another meeting room. He waved a hand behind them and the door shut, sealing them off from the outside world.

He eyed the vampire critically. “We have a scheduled meeting in a few days, Raphael. What has brought you here so early?”

The clan leader licked his lips and took a breath, as though mentally preparing himself for something. “It’s been nearly three years since you agreed to the truce with the shadowhunters, but you’ve yet offer it.”

Magnus raised a brow. “I said I would do it on my own terms.”

Raphael’s lips tightened over his sharp teeth. “That Harondale boy has taken control of the Clave.”

Oh, of that the warlock was well aware. The years had passed by slowly as Magnus whispered into the darkness of Idris. His poison had slithered through the ranks of hunters, as more and more of the younger hunters fought—and died—for what? To see the Clave openly shun Alexander Lightwood—to try and deny him even a symbolic funeral pyre in honor of his sacrifice?

They made it so easy for him.

No battles had been fought in weeks, not since Jace had ousted those in charge from power. The hunters had all been pulled back from their institutes and strongholds back into Idris and Harondale had installed the Lightwoods as head of this new Clave in order to give his regime a bit of legitimacy, and to keep those that would have spoken out against him in check.

Magnus wondered how long it would be until Jace realized that Maryse and Robert Lightwood were not to be trifled with either. They were not so very far removed ideologically from the original Clave, but for now they would adhere to their adopted son’s orders. They thought they were all safe behind their walls of angelic magic, but even now, the warlocks were nearly through the last of their layers.

“What of it?” Magnus asked as he eyed Raphael.

The vampire met his gaze unflinchingly. “Jace Harondale may have been focused on the Clave the last few years, but soon enough he will be out for blood for what happened to Alexander Lightwood.”

“The child can do nothing,” Magnus said with an indifferent shrug.

Raphael snorted derisively. “Not to you, but he is a formidable opponent and he will rally the hunters to revive the war.”

The warlock sneered at the thought. “He would lose in a full scale battle.”

“But not before taking out a significant number of my people and the hunters . . .”

Magnus pursed his lips. The downworlders had been full of righteous anger and vengeance in the beginning when they had pleaded for Asmodeus’s aid, but now with the nephilim on the verge of extinction, they were putting the breaks on the entire endeavor.

Raphael continued speaking. “We’ve been waiting for you to follow through with your word even while watching you slowly dismantle them from the outside and from within. You have their destruction within the palm of your hand, but you haven’t crush them—or offered the truce. You’re drawing the war out for some reason.”

Magnus felt his head tilt. It may have taken a few years, but he supposed they were bound to suspect something sooner or later.

Raphael eyed him intently. “You’re planning something.”

The warlock snorted. “I do not owe you any explanation for my actions, vampire.”

“You’re stalling the war—why won’t you just end it?”

Magnus turned to look at Raphael, a brow raised and the clan leader shrank back under the maliciousness of his gaze. “My . . . plans have nothing to do with the downworld—but they will ensure the truce when the day comes that I offer it.”

Raphael’s eyes narrowed. “That shadowhunter—the one you’re keeping here. Does he had something to do with this?”

The warlock felt a smile pull at his lips. “You really are far too clever for your own good, Raphael.”

Raphael didn’t seem to know if he should be please to be right or not. “It is him, then,” he said thoughtfully. “What are you planning to do with him?”

“Not with him . . . to him,” Magnus said pleasantly even as the vampire’s normally bone pale skin begin to tinge a faint yellow color. “Get that look off your face—I’m not going to kill him.”

The clan leader swallowed uncomfortably. “He’s . . . he’s Simon’s friend.”

Magnus let out a low chuckle. “Well then Simon will be pleased to know that Alexander will never leave this world.”

Raphael took a step back in surprise. “You would make him into a vampire—”

The warlock cut him off quickly. “No. He will be something else—which is why I need this time. The spell is . . . intense. I could have completed it sooner, but the required power would have left me useless for months afterwards.”

“Defenseless, you mean,” Raphael said with supercilious tilt of his head.

Magnus smiled even as his eyes flashed. “I may be many things, but even when temporarily drained of my magic, I am far from defenseless.”

The vampire looked away for a second, but soon straightened back up. “You’re waiting to complete the spell, and that’s it? Once you have that done, you’ll offer the truce?”

“Yes,” Magnus said simply.

“How much longer?”

He shrugged. “Eight more months should be sufficient.”

Raphael nodded. “I will tell the others that you are preparing the offer.” When Magnus raised a brow, the vampire was quick to add. “I will not mention the shadowhunter.”

The warlock nodded and the door flew open behind him, signaling the end of the discussion. Raphael stepped out quickly and made his way back to the room containing Simon and Alexander.

Magnus entered after the vampire and found Alexander mid question. “How do you know about Clary?” he asked, brows drawn together.

Simon didn’t have a chance to respond as he looked up at them. He seemed to sigh in relief and Magnus turned his gaze towards Alexander. The hunter was looking at him suspiciously and he hoped there wouldn’t be another disagreement. It had taken him months to get Alec to speak to him again after the rune incident.

He wasn’t certain that it wasn’t simply that Alexander had no one else to talk to that he’d eventually forgiven Magnus. As it was, the warlock wasn’t looking a gift horse in the mouth and he’d been on his best behavior ever since—or more specifically, he’d kept all questionable activity under wraps and nowhere in Alexander’s vicinity. The daylighter stepped up to Raphael, his hand taking the other man’s as they stood close together.

“You ready to go?” the clan leader asked and Simon nodded.

“Sure. The sun will be up in a few hours, anyway.”

Alec looked less than impressed at the clear dodging of whatever question he’d been asking, but said nothing further. Magnus created a portal for the pair and they gave a short thank you before stepping through.

The room was quiet for a moment as Magnus banished Raphael's old glass and summoned one if his own. He sat down beside the hunter and picked up the book they’d been looking at. It was a spell book—one of Mangus’s—that specialized in methods of communication. The page it was turned to showed speaking orbs. Small two-way balls of light that were little better than walkie talkies.

“You want a set of these?” he asked. There were easy enough to create and he didn’t mind Alexander speaking to Simon through them.

“Simon told me about Jace and the Clave. He told me about Clary’s coma.”

Magnus knew of the red-haired girl’s power drain. Obviously, his intentions that day, however raw and undeveloped, had been noticeable to her. She refused to believe that Magnus had killed Alexander. His lover’s parabatai rune was shattered—a feat only achievable by death, but even after more than two years now, she didn’t accept that fact.

Her convictions and guilt had eventually driven her to cast a spell far more complex than she was capable of handling—one to locate a soul. It had failed, obviously—she hadn’t found the exact location of Alexander’s soul . . . but it had lead her to Magnus’s palace.

The hunters still didn’t believe that Alec was alive, but they were well aware that warlocks collected souls for the greater demons to feed on. To have one’s soul consumed or repurposed into new demon rather than allowing it to be sent to the next realm was a fate that hunters feared and reviled more than any other. The spell had drained the girl of her energy. She had slipped into a coma and would remain so for another few weeks at least.

“You have spies inside Idris,” Alexander said.

Mangus sighed as he took a long sip of his drink. “Of course I do, Alexander,” he said lightly. “I wouldn’t be much of a warlock if I couldn’t slip a few spies into the ranks of so archaic an organization as the Clave.”

“Ar—archaic? Idris is protected by the most powerful magics—”

“Much of which was spun by warlocks many centuries ago—not that any of you hunters would ever admit to it,” he said with a chuckle.

“Warlocks?”

“You didn’t know?” he asked with a tilt of his head before shrugging. “Perhaps your Clave really did convince themselves that if they say it never happened then it didn’t.”

Alexander shook his head. “Why would warlocks help the Clave?”

Magnus took another long pull of his liquor before answering. “Long ago, the downworlders and the Clave were allies—they wished to protect themselves from demons.”

“But now the downworlders are allied with the demons,” Alec responded with a furrowed brow.

“And why is that, Alexander?” Magnus asked simply.

The hunter swallowed uncomfortably. “Revenge for Valentine.”

Magnus couldn’t help the cynical chuckle that erupted from him. “Revenge? You think simple revenge is all that that they thought of when summoning Asmodeus? When they sacrificed thousands of their brethren?”

Alexander looked away. “The Clave didn’t—didn’t handle things with Valentine properly—”

“They didn’t do anything to stop him, you mean. The only thing they did was throw up their hands—it was only downworlders he was killing, after all.”

The hunter shifted. “The Clave . . . they learned from their mistake—”

Magnus cut him off. “You still defend them? Even after what they almost did to you?”

The younger man clenched his teeth. “You don’t understand—family means everything—”

“Clearly not when your parents didn’t lift a finger to defend you from the council.”

“They couldn’t do anything.”

Magnus raised a brow before sliding over the sofa and putting his hand around Alec’s neck. He drew the hunter closer, brushing a kiss across his lover’s lips. Alexander returned the gesture, his fingers absently rubbing Magnus’s thigh.

“They don’t deserve you, Alexander,” the warlock whispered. “You’re far too good for them.”

“But good enough for you?” Alec asked, his voice slightly husky.

“More than enough.” Magnus couldn’t help leaning in further, pushing Alec back onto the arm of the sofa but the other man hissed.

“Not the couch again,” Alexander said, pushing on Magnus’s chest. “My back still hasn’t recovered from the last time.”

Magnus chuckled, but pulled away nonetheless. He snapped his fingers and a portal appeared. They stepped through and Alexander blinked in confusion as he looked around the space. He’d probably been expecting their bedroom, but Magnus was feeling . . . in a mood.

“You can’t be serious,” Alec said, his face closing off. They were in forest with tall lush trees growing around them. The sun was setting and had cast the sky in a rainbow of colors, highlighted by a smattering of thick clouds. But Magnus knew none of that bothered Alexander—they’d engaged in intimate relations in all sorts of places using the space.

No, what Alexander’s eyes were glued upon was the stone altar set in the center of the clearing. Jagged runes were carved upon it as well as the stone spires encircled it. The effect was one of ancient human paganism—a sacrificial offering to a god.

“It’s not real, Alexander. This is the illusionary space,” he said with a wave of his hand. The entire area rippled with magic in demonstration.

The hunter cast him a withering look even as he shook his head. “Doesn’t matter. I’m not doing this,” he said belligerently. It was perhaps too reminiscent of the ceremonies performed by the nephilim—a bastardization involving sex and blood that Alexander wasn’t entirely ready for. Magnus, however, was . He kept movements and voice light, but this needed happen.

He tilted his head as he took Alec’s hand. “Come now, Alexander,” he said chidingly. “I do believe you owe me a favor.”

The hunter’s jaw dropped open. “This? You’re using your favor for this?”

The warlock shrugged. “It’s a been a fantasy of mine for a while.”

Which was true, but not nearly the entirety of his reasoning for asking this of Alexander. If the hunter continued to balk, he’d find another way, but at least in this scenario, there was little chance of Alexander noticing anything terribly amiss.

His lover eyed him and he thought the other man would say no again, but Alec eventually sighed and nodded. “This one time,” he said with a note of finality.

The warlock inclined his head in response, but he didn’t verbally answer. He snapped his fingers again, and Alexander’s jeans and button-down disappeared, only to be replaced with a semi-sheer bit of fabric that was artfully draped around his hips and chest.

“Wow,” Alexander said, thoroughly unimpressed. “You really are into this.”

Another gesture had the hunter chained down to the altar. Alexander pulled on the chains experimentally, but they had little give. Magnus was careful to create a soft layer of satin cushions beneath Alec to protect his delicate skin from the rough stone of the ancient table.

“Do you want me to scream and cry too?” Alexander asked only a touch snidely while trying his best to hide the trepidation that clearly lurked within him.

Magnus pursed his lips. “If you want to . . . though if you truly wish me to stop, say gelatin.”

“Gelatin?”

The warlock smiled. “You’re unlikely to say that in the heat of the moment.”

“I suppose,” Alec said trailing off thoughtfully as Magnus waved his arms around ‘summoning’ an army of demons to view the sacrificial deflowering. They clamored around and the sky bled to a crimson red, setting the mood. The dense forest around them suddenly seemed ancient and dying as bare limbs leaned in towards the altar.

Magnus never let his eyes leave Alec’s as his form changed. His body grew and thickened, lean muscles giving way to a towering bulk. His skin darkened and cracked with heat in places while horns spouted from his head. His teeth lengthened and sharpened and his clothing burned away. He watched as Alec’s eyes moved lower, taking in another part of his anatomy that grew. His cock and balls hung large and heavy between his legs as he approached.

Alexander had seen this form once before when he’d walked in on Magnus casting a spell. His lover had nearly attacked him, thinking him some random demon, but a quick word had left the hunter standing there blinking stupidly. Magnus hadn’t meant for Alexander to see him then, but he was glad for the prior introduction now. There was no fear in the human—not because of his body, anyway.

“Ah, human,” he said, allowing a bit of magic to manipulate his vocal structure slightly, deepening it. “My tribute this year is more beautiful than ever!” he announced dramatically

Alec hesitated, all but rolling his eyes before he responded. “I—You may do what you wish of me! I will do my duty for the sake of my family and give my life force!” he cried out theatrically and Magnus had to stifle his laugh.

“Oh, little human, it is not your life force that I seek, but your virtue.”

As he said this, he leaned over the alter, crawling over the hunter. The warlock ran his nose and tongue along Alexander’s skin, savoring the flavor of his lover. Alec let out a wretched cry as he looked down fearfully.

“No! I—I can not be touched in such a way!”

Magnus ripped the barely-there slip of fabric exposing Alexander’s hardened length. It stood to attention staring Magnus in the eye.

“Looks like my touches are not unwelcome,” he said smugly.

The warlock let his unnaturally long tongue wrap around the Alec’s length, moving it up and down before engulfing the member entirely. He sucked it down his throat, heating and gurgling around it. He was careful with his teeth, but he allowed a heavy suction to incite the other man. Alexander’s eyes rolled back into his head as his back arched against the chains. He pulled on them and Magnus mentally noted that he would need to heal the bruises later.

“Ah! Oh Magnus!”

He released Alexander’s cock with a smile. “Scream my name, mortal,” he hissed out. The demons that writhed and roiled around them drew closer, inching up the altar. Magnus smiled as he lifted one of Alec’s legs. The young man’s eyes went wide as Magnus let his jaw all but unhinge as he buried his face into Alexander’s hole. He let the oily slick of his saliva gush forward onto and into Alec as his tongue pierced the hunter.

Alexander watched him with round disbelieving eyes, edging on horrified, but blissed out nonetheless as Magnus let out a guttural grown and shook his head like dog. His tongue squirmed inside his lover as though it had a mind of its own, seeking out Alec’s pleasure and he knew he’d found it when the other’s voice pitched upward and he let out a keening wail.

Semen spurted from his length all over his chest and the alter. A few of the bolder demons that had been edging ever closer surged forward then, their tongues coming out to gather the hunter’s spend as they ravenously consumed every pearlescent drop. When that was gone, they latched onto Alexander’s sensitive cock and balls causing the hunter to yelp and moan.

“What are they—oh god!”

Magnus raised himself up, allowing his spine and shoulder blades to crack and grind as leathery wings burst forth from his back. Blood oozed down his sides and onto Alec’s chest. He reached down and rubbed the thick dark liquid into his lover’s skin.

More demons crawled forth, licking Alexander, sucking marks onto him as they latched onto his throat and chest. A few made it to his nipples as well and the young man shivered as his body was set on fire by all the sensations converging onto him. It was then that Magnus held his cock in hand and began guiding it inside. He was larger in this form than he usually was, and the stretch of his lover around him was even better.

“Magnus—it’s—it’s too big!” Alexander moaned out with a shudder. The warlock slowed his movement but didn’t stop. He felt his wings flap behind him as he continued. Alexander’s breathing became labored and sweat beaded on the other man’s forehead.

Finally, an eternity later, Magnus was fully mounted inside the hunter.

“Mine—mine forever,” he said, pulling both of the younger man’s legs around his waist as he leaned forward and braced himself above Alec.

The hunter blinked, dazed at the overwhelmingly full feeling in his ass while dozens of tiny demons continued to suckle on his cock. They latched on like leeches doing everything in their power to try and bring Alexander off again.

Magnus waited a moment or two for the other man to come back to himself. He wanted Alexander fully aware of everything that was about to happen. When the tell-tale clinking of the chains sounded as Alec shifted, the warlock smiled and pulled out.

He thrust back in and Alexander let out a heaving gasp. “M—Magnus!”

The warlock moved slowly at first, but soon enough he was setting a punishing rhythm, every thrust punctuated by an erotic cry from Alec. The young man continued to pull on his chains and Magnus looked up at the rapidly bruising wrists. He grimaced, snapping his fingers, and the metal disappeared.

Alexander reared up, his arms wrapping around Magnus’s barreled chest and fingers clenching into leathery cracked skin. He continued to move for a few moments before Alec reached for his face and drew their lips together. The warlock was so lost in the moment that he forgot that his teeth had sharped.

At least until he tasted blood in their kiss—Alec’s blood. He drew back, his thrusts faltering as he took in the blood that coated Alexander’s teeth and seeped down from the side of his mouth. The hunter didn’t seem to care, though. In fact, one of his hands slid down over Magnus’s bare flank and pushed on it.

“I thought demons had more stamina,” Alec said, licking at the blood on his lips.

Magnus bared his teeth before he pulled out of Alexander completely. He flipped the young man over, eliciting a yelp of surprise as the demons skittered back to the sides of the altar. The hunter braced himself on his elbows as the warlock pushed back inside, loving the erotic image of his massive cock sinking into his lover.

“Ah!” Alexander cried out as Magnus gripped his hips tightly, holding him still as he began pistoning his lower body again. The demons had begun to swarm them once more and Magnus could feel them writhing and sucking on Alexander again. His heavy balls slapped at them as he thrust in again and again. The hunter eventually came a second time, his arms giving out beneath him. He rested his head in the cushions, his ass even better presented than before.

“I thought hunters had more stamina,” Magnus said running a taloned hand down the hunter’s back, fingers curving into the scar that marked their first meeting.

“Fuck you,” the hunter gasped out.

Magnus laughed, the sound echoing around them, but before he could say anything in response, Alec turned his head around and looked at him.

Time slowed down as one of the hunter’s legs lifted up and planted itself onto Magnus’s chest. One minute, he was warmly ensconced inside Alexander, the next he was pushed back with the force of the kick that had him falling back onto the other side of the altar. He landed with an ‘oomph!’ and his wings twinged at the fall.

Then Alexander was over him, looking down at him with a sweat and tear-streaked face complete with a bloody mouth. His hair was wild as he swung a leg over Magnus’s wide hips. The warlock could only look at him as Alec sank back down onto his erection.

The hunter’s eyes fell shut and he sighed bonelessly as though simply taking in the feeling of being so full. Eventually his eyes opened again and Magnus was greeted to the view of his lover grinding down on him. Alexander’s abdominal muscles were rippling as he moved in a languid motion that drove the warlock absolutely crazy. His hands came up to rest on Alec’s hips, but he didn’t urge the hunter to go faster. He merely rested them there, feeling the muscles of his lover move beneath his skin.

The demons once again swarmed them and he saw Alexander look down at them as a larger one pushed the smaller ones away and swallowed down his new master’s member. Magnus expected that, with his hands free, Alexander would push the lesser demon away—but the hunter surprised him. Alec didn’t try to stop the squirming dark mass of spindly arms, legs, and mouth. If anything he thrust his pelvis deeper into the writhing hoard, drawing out his own pleasure. His flushed and bloody face fell forward as he continued to move.

Alexander was a sight, he thought. Blood and sucking marks littered his chest as tiny demons continued to skitter over him, wrapping around his body like limpets to a rock. They worshipped his body as they worshipped all warlocks and greater demons.

Alec’s hands traced the scarred lines that whirled around Magnus’s chest, fingers taking in the blackened and charred skin of this demonic form. The warlock had been hesitant to try this with Alexander, but this form was far more powerful than the human veil that he wore. It would ensure that even more magic would infuse into Alec’s body.

His lover’s gaze met his as he sped up his movements, clearly on the edge of his third orgasm. Magnus licked his lips as the sight, but all thoughts and intent fled from him as Alec leaned down, brushing his lips lightly over the warlock’s jaw before pulling him into another bloody kiss. Magnus released his lover’s hips and instead wrapped his thick arms around Alexander’s back, holding him close.

The hunter pulled back slightly, his eyes clouded over with something. “I love you,” Alec whispered into his lips.

Magnus could never be sure if it was the setting, the sex, or the magic that prompted the confession, but he didn't think about any of that then. He merely realized that that was the happiest moment of his life.

That single statement drove him over the edge, painting Alexander’s insides with burning demonic magic. The hunter’s back arched as he too came for a third time. The lesser demon greedily sucked down Alexander’s essence as the hunter panted above him.

Around them, the illusion slowly faded. The forest, the red sky, the army of demons—they all disappeared, leaving only the two of them. The hunter collapsed over him and Magnus allowed his body to revert back to his more humanoid form.

He wrapped his arms around Alec, snapping his fingers and sending them back to their bedroom. They landed in their bed, and Magnus momentarily luxuriated in the feel of satin below him and warm hunter above him.

“Maybe we can do that again some time,” Alexander murmured as his eyes drooped closed.

Magnus raised a brow but said nothing as the hunter fell into an exhausted sleep. He eyed the sucking marks that dotted Alexander’s body—marks that wouldn’t have been there had the demons been only illusions. A small test—one that had proven that his plans were coming together smoothly. His hands moved gently over Alec’s skin, feeling his own magical energy coursing through the hunter’s body.

His lover was almost ready.

Chapter Text

Alexander was laid out on the chaise lounge sleeping off the effects of a rather intense round of love-making. Magnus hadn’t meant to take it quite so far, but Alec’s body was near brimming with demonic magic by this point. He needed an outlet, and Magnus was doing everything in his power to alleviate the strain.

Not that Alec had any idea about the effects of his continued exposure to Magnus’s magic, though it was hard to miss how the lesser demons all but clung to him. Ever since that . . . scene in the forest, Magnus had allowed them back into the palace.

He’d been unsure of the safety of an un-runed nephilim around so many lesser demons, but after seeing their reaction—their desire for Alexander, he took it a step further. The hunter had been uncomfortable at first, but within weeks, he seemed to pick up on the fact that they wouldn’t hurt him. They wrapped around his neck and arms when he moved through the palace, their thin limbs clasped and weak wings flapping whenever another tried to take their place.

Even now, a half dozen of them slept curled up around Alexander.

It was nearly time to see his plan through. Everything was in place, he just needed one final ingredient. Everything hinged on that last step. Magnus looked again at his lover. He’d been here for three years—a small chunk of a mortal life, but a mere blip to an immortal. Even if this didn’t work, he’d find another way—crushing the nephilim for their insolence as he did so. There was always Raphael’s offer of the bite, Magnus supposed, but that would be the last resort.

“You’ve got that look on your face,” Alec murmured sleepily as he tried to sit up. The lesser demons yawned as they awoke, gaping maws exposing razor sharp and blackened teeth.

“What look?” Magnus asked offhandedly.

“The one you wear when you’re thinking about killing something.”

The warlock snorted as Alexander moved his legs around to the floor and he sat up. He flinched as his skin met the cold stone and Magnus immediately flourished his fingers. Clothing appeared over Alexander’s body, wrapping him up against any lingering chill.

The hunter got up with some difficulty, his backside clearly twinging. The tiny demons leapt from the chaise onto Alexander and the young man allowed it, even helping one of the smallest ones up onto his shoulder.

“You treat them better than you treat me,” Magnus said petulantly as Alec ran a finger down the crooked and kinked spine of one of the creatures.

“That’s because they don’t have any ulterior motives,” Alexander replied, not looking at him. “Besides, they’re kinda cute.”

It was a testament to how much demonic energy was coursing through Alexander’s body that the young man thought his new companions were ‘cute’. Lesser demons tended to be some of the ugliest creatures imaginable with thin gaunt bodies, sunken dead eyes—when they had eyes—and rotted skin that occasionally just sloughed off as they slowly grew.

“They don’t have any motives. They’re barely more than husks driven by the most base of instincts,” Magnus said with a raised brow. “They’re only around you because you protect them.”

He supposed that he shouldn’t be surprised that the smallest of the creatures flocked to Alexander. Edom wasn’t a kind place—especially to the weak. Small demons such as these tended to be killed easily and en masse. Someone like Alec, who treated them like pets, and kept the larger spawn away, would be like a beacon of safety for them.

Magnus wouldn’t have cared except now, Alexander wouldn’t let him use them during sex anymore—as if the creatures wouldn’t be salivating at the thought of pleasuring someone so thoroughly saturated in magic. They did still try on occasion, but Alec only pushed them off him now.

He’d give it a few decades before Alexander let go of that particular hang-up.

The hunter came around his desk and leaned against the wood. “Who’s demise are you plotting, today?” he asked.

“The entirety of Idris,” Magnus said flippantly.

He got exactly the reaction he expected. Alexander’s eyes went wide and he moved away from the desk, coming closer to stand in front of Magnus.

“Don’t,” he said seriously, his gaze intent.

The warlock raised a brow as he leaned back into his chair. “And why shouldn’t I?” he asked with a shrug. “The downworld wants the war to end, and I’m tired of all these tedious planning meetings. I wish to return to my life in Edom.”

Alexander’s brow furrowed. “E—Edom? You’re going to Edom when the war ends?”

Something inside Magnus clenched and churned. “ We’re going to Edom when the war ends,” he said with a hard stare.

The hunter swallowed uncomfortably. “But . . . the truce . . .”

Magnus snorted. “I’m on the verge of annailating them. Why would I bother?”

Alec’s legs seemed to give out beneath him as he sank to his knees. The demons gave tiny shrieks as they were jarred by the movement, but the hunter ignored them. He grabbed Mangus’s hand with both of his.

“You can’t . . . Please, they’re my family,” he said quietly.

Magnus was tempted to draw this out—perhaps extract another favor from his lover to be paid in the future. But really, there was hardly any need when they were so close to the end.

“I will offer the truce,” he said after a long moment. “But they may not accept it.”

The hunter’s gaze became confused. “Why? What are you going to ask for?”

Magnus reached out with the hand that wasn’t clasped in Alec’s and ran his fingers lightly over the soft skin of the hunter’s cheek.

“What could I possibly want from the nephilim, Alexander?” he asked.

Alec’s brow furrowed. “But you . . . I—I’m already here,” he said, stumbling over the words and flushing as he did so.

The warlock’s hand came under Alexander’s chin, tilting it up slightly. “When the war ends, I know you’d seek to return to them.”

Alec’s throat bobbed softly beneath Magnus’s fingers as he answered. “Idris is my home—”

Magnus dropped his hand away abruptly and the hunter fell forward slightly. “This is your home, now. I’m going to offer the truce and prove that to you.”

The hunter blinked in confusion. “What are you talking about?”

“The truce will be offered, but there will be a stipulation. Robert and Maryse Lightwood must hand over their blood so that I may cast a spell of disownment.”

If Magnus possessed the ability to feel guilt, he would probably be feeling it now. Alexander’s expression was one of despair and heartbreak, and while Magnus did not enjoy instilling these emotions into his lover, he would do this and more to get what he wanted. Besides, i f there was one thing he’d learned during his long centuries of life, it was that most emotions were fleeting. Anger, sadness, and lust came and went like the ebb and flow of the tide. Few thoughts and commitments lingered in the mind when one lived and measured time by the rise and fall of civilizations rather than duration of one shallow obsession into another. Alec, in particular, never seemed to hold onto his anger for long.

He would make an excellent immortal.

 

“Dis—disownment?” Alexander eventually echoed after a moment, drawing the warlock back to their conversation. “But I wouldn't—”

“You would lose your connection to Idris. You’d be little better than a mundane, unable to see or enter the city freely anymore.”

Alec dropped his hand, his body slumping back onto the floor. “My parents . . . They—they wouldn’t trade me for a ceasefire,” he said, though his conviction was less than impressive.

Magnus’s brow rose. “You don’t think so?”

“No.”

The warlock watched Alec for a beat before shrugging. “I’ll make you a deal, Alexander.”

“What kind of deal?” The young man asked suspiciously

Magnus mentally went over the exact phrasing of the deal before speaking. “I am going to go to Idris and I’m going to hand over this document—peace for fifty years—in exchange for you. If they say no, I’ll let you go.”

“What?” Alec asked, his jaw dropping over slightly.

The warlock smiled. “I won’t tell them, of course, but yes . . . If they turn down my proposal, I’ll portal you to Idris myself. There will be no peace treaty, but you’ll be returned back to the . . . loving arms of your family.”

Of course, with so much of Magnus’s own magic all but infesting Alec, they would cast him out before he even set foot in their sacred city. The warlock didn’t deal in anything less than a sure thing. Alec nodded, seemingly unnoticing of the way the lesser demons slithered around his body.

“But if they say yes . . .” Magnus began, appreciating the way his lover looked sitting on the ground between the warlock’s legs. “If they say yes, then you agree to stay here—forever. No more marks or guards watching your every move, no more worrying that you’ll leave. You’ll stay with me for eternity.”

Alec licked his lips. “Well, I’m not gonna live forever so I don’t think—”

“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” Magnus said evenly.

The hunter shot him a strange look. “I’m not going to become a vampire.”

“I don’t wish to make you one.”

A true statement, if incomplete. He didn’t wish for Alexander to be a vampire, but he would do what needed to be done if this plan didn’t work for whatever reason. Still, that seemed to be enough for Alec. Magnus almost lamented that in a few decades, maybe a century, the other man would probably become wise to his schemes and half-truths.

“So,” he said reaching his hand out. “Do we have a deal?”

Alexander hesitated, his face a mask of fear and uncertainty, but finally he reached out and took Magnus’s hand. “Yes.”

The warlock smiled as they shook hands, and a light flashed between them sealing their agreement. The document disappeared as Magnus got up, pulling Alexander with him. They stood facing one another and the warlock leaned up slightly and planted a short kiss on Alec’s lips.

“I’m off then,” he said flippantly as he pulled away.

“What? Now?” Alexander asked as he grabbed Magnus’s arm. “You’re going now?”

The warlock chuckled as he misted his form and reappeared a few feet away. “Why not now?” he asked with a mischievous twist of his lips.

“I mean . . . I—” Alexander began for want of any other explanation. “Shouldn’t we talk about this?”

The warlock waved him off. “I’ve been preparing for a two years now, Alexander. Time to see if your family values you as much as you value them.”

The hunter balked at his choice of words but then that had been the point. Magnus arched his hands and the portal appeared. He moved through it without another word or look, leaving Alexander alone.

Catarina greeted him as he stepped down onto the grass. His warlocks had done well. All but the guising spell had been taken down. The city was still shielded from mundane eyes, but anyone could simply walk in at this point.

“I hope you know what you’re doing, Magnus,” she said. “We’ve been stuck in this wretched mundane plane for five years now. Not all of us were able to bring an entire palace with us into this realm. I wish to return home.”

“You have an entire wing to yourself, Catarina.”

She glared at him. “That’s not the point. You’ve planned this out down to the last detail, but it all hinges on those mortals choosing legacy over family. I do not care for shadow hunters but even I know that they place great value on family loyalty.”

“Yes, loyalty to the family,” he echoed. “I suppose it really depends on what one defines as family.”

Alexander’s definition would most assuredly change by the end of day, he thought. “Do not worry yourself. I have not invested so much time and energy into this plan to see it fall apart at the eleventh hour. They will sign this and we will return home.”

“Until the next war,” she said with a raised brow.

Magnus smiled. “Until the next war.”

With that, he turned towards the guise. He stepped through it and left the forest. More than a dozen hunters surrounded him and he grinned. The guising spell rippled as the hundreds of warlocks that surrounded the hidden capital made themselves known.

They hesitated, eyes taking in the power that was currently threatening to envelope them.

“For Raziel!” one of them called and they rushed at him.

Magnus could have made a show of destroying them one by one, but he was far more eager to return to Alexander and the spell he was brewing. The hunters were thrown back without even a gesture, and he gave them all a dispassionate look as he began walking. A few more tried attacking him here or there, but they could do nothing against his power.

Their city was still pristine, but it was nearly empty. The nephilim had never been a prolific race, but the war had all but wiped them out. Their numbers were a mere fraction of what they’d been half a decade ago—with most of the survivors being only children themselves.  They watched him with fearful and teary eyes from the shadows of barren buildings. He felt no pity for them—theirs was a race that courted death continually until death eventually took them up on their offer.

Idris was not overly large and so it didn’t take him long—even just walking—to reach the city center. Robert and Maryse Lightwood stood before him along with their older children. The warlock was momentarily distracted by the sight of Alexander’s former parabatai. The hunter had grown in the three years since that fateful day. He’d filled out even more and his hair was shaved at the sides but longer on top, braided close to his scalp. It gave him an almost barbaric appearance—one that matched the snarl on his face.

“I’m beginning to think that I’m not welcome here,” he said with a smug smile, gesturing around at all the weapons currently aimed in his direction.

“That’s because you aren’t!” Jace called back. “We don’t invite murderers into Idris!”

Magnus pursed his lips in thought. “Funny. Valentine Morgenstern kept a home here up until the day the werewolves finally tore him apart,” he said before sliding his eyes over the Lightwoods, “And I seem to remember you two slaughtering vampires by the dozen in Valentine’s little torture dungeon.”

Some of the hunters blinked in confusion at the accusation, looking from Magnus up to the Lightwoods. The pair of them flushed in indignation and shame.

Maryse’s eyes were on fire. “You lie! You saw nothing!”

Magnus cast a spell that slowed time as he further approached the family, ending it when he stood mere feet from them. For them, his movement would have appeared instantaneous and Robert flinched back but Maryse stood her ground even as Magnus leaned in.

“Oh, Maryse,” he whispered. “I see everything—and unless you want all these fine people, including your children to see it too, you’ll speak to me—in private.”

Her brow furrowed and he saw her eyes spitting poison at him, but she nodded nonetheless. “This way,” she said, gesturing for him to follow her.

Her husband walked behind him as both Jace and Clary attempted to stop them. Isabelle was curiously absent from the small group. He’d seen her with her parents initially, but she’d drifted into the crowd soon afterwards.

“What are you doing?” Jace asked angrily as he walked beside Maryse. “He’s the one who killed Alec!”

Magnus couldn’t see Maryse’s expression from behind her, but judging by the way Jace stopped talking, her glare must have been a doozy.

“The warlock is here for a reason,” she hissed out. “Our shields that have stood for a thousand years are gone. We have no defenses left.”

“That doesn’t mean we need to speak to him. Even the Seelie Queen would be better!”

At this, Maryse paused, her steps halting as she turned and looked the young man in the eye.

“Stop being a child, Jace,” she said before continuing on.

The hunter stood there, thoroughly humiliated as Magnus passed him by with a smile. They entered a grand hall, and magnus took a cursory glance around, barely recognizing the structure that it had become from what it had been so long ago. The Lightwoods passed through the hall and brought him into a small antichamber. Jace and Clary were about to follow them in, but Magnus flicked his fingers, slamming the door on them. They beat on the wood, but the warlock flourished his hands a second time as he rolled his eyes. The room was silent.

“What do you want?” Robert asked, and Magnus noted the thread of exhaustion that seeded his words. This man had lost much and he was ready for his suffering to end.

Magnus smiled. “Only peace,” he said with a tilt of his head.

Maryse shook her head. “It’s never only anything with you, Magnus. You’ve been planning something in that monstrosity you call a palace for years,” she said disdainfully before sighing. “Are you just playing with us now before you wipe us out?”

The warlock was sorely tempted extend the conversation further—drive the dagger of his presence a little deeper. While Magnus didn’t personally care about the downworlder hatred for former Circle members, he had seen the aftermath of the atrocities they’d committed. He’d listened to Raphael and Simon speak on occasion about what the daylighter had been forced to endure. These two would never be able to atone for what they had done to the downworlders.

His eyes narrowed, but he snapped his fingers. The pair of them reared back as though expecting an attack, but all that appeared was a document. Magnus took hold of it before handing it to Robert.

“You’ll find the entirety of my intentions there.”

He took it hesitantly, pulling out a thin pair of reading glasses as he set the papers down onto a desk. They both read through it carefully and Magnus waited patiently as they eventually finished.

Robert looked up, pulling the glasses off. “Why do you want our blood—only mine and Maryse’s?”

Magnus smiled. “I need your blood to perform a spell.”

Neither of them looked happy. “What kind of spell?” Maryse asked through gritted teeth.

The warlock gave them a toothy grin. “The kind that will destroy a parental bond.”

The glasses slipped from Robert’s hand, falling to the floor in a clatter as they both stared at him. Shocked horror filled their features and he savored it. They must have been imagining all sorts of terrible things to give off this kind of anguish.

“Alec is . . . alive?” Robert finally asked, his hand gripping the edge of the desk to help keep himself upright.

Magnus raised a brow. “Of course. I’ve kept Alexander quite safe—though these days, he has the run of the palace.”

Maryse balked at his words. “What have you done to him?” she asked

The warlock gave her a long look before shrugging. “Really, Maryse, what goes on in our bedroom really is none of your concern.”

The woman’s face twisted into one of disgust. “You—with Alec . . . He would never—”

Magnus smiled thinking back to all the ways he’d taken and been taken by Alexander. “Do I really need to explain to you two how attraction works?” he asked, before looking them over. “Maybe I do,” he said absently.

Two hot spots of color appeared on Maryse’s face. “How dare you—” she began but Magnus waved her off, silencing her words.

“Be grateful that your son is able to see past our differences—it’s the only reason you’re still alive. If I’d had my way, I would have eradicated your species like the opportunistic vermin you are years ago.”

Robert put a steadying hand on his wife’s shoulder before speaking. “Why do you need to destroy our bond? If you like him so much as he is, what do you care whether he can still enter his home?”

Magnus sighed. “This war that you and Valentine started—it really means nothing to me. I care little for the downworld or this realm. I reside primarily in Edom, but Alexander is . . . not suited for such a place. As a mortal—a nephilim—he would not survive long . . . And truly, you people have a life expectancy little better than a pet dog. I wish for more time with him. Eternity.”

Robert digested his words, his shoulders slumping. “You . . . you plan to change him.”

Magnus kept his tone carefully even. “I do. I will remove not only his blood bond with your family, but all ties to the nephilim. He will join the ranks of the warlocks.”

They looked at each other before looking down at the document again.

“Is he . . . is he happy with you?” Robert finally asked.

Happiness was such a subjective term, he thought.

“Alexander is . . . content. He has friends amongst the downworlders now, access to powerful magics, and we  . . . care a great deal for one another. The only thing holding him back is your family. Severing this last tie will free him.”

Magnus raised his hand, two clear vials appeared in his outstretched fingers. The pair eyed the containers for a few seconds, looking at one another and then the document before looking back at him.

“We—we can’t,” Robert said even as Maryse swallowed uncomfortably. “He’s our son.”

Magnus tilted his head, darkness swirling beneath the surface of his skin. “You have other children to think about, don’t you? The pretty girl outside, Isabelle and even a younger one . . . Max, isn’t it?” The pair seemed to freeze but Magnus continued. “Alexander speaks of them occasionally. He cares for them deeply, but that won’t stop me from leveling this little haven of yours until the nephilim are but a memory.”

Robert shook his head. “You wouldn’t. The downworld—they don’t want to fight with us anymore, and Alec would hate you if you killed us!”

Magnus snorted out a laugh. “I care nothing for the downworld or their soft intentions. I am a Prince of Hell—the favorite son of Asmodeus. Do you have any idea how many of my own blood I had to slaughter to earn that title? Alexander might hate me for a century—maybe even two—but he’ll eventually forget you. I will be all that he has, but you . . . If you don’t give me what I want, your family will be nothing but dust.”

The pair of them flinched away and Mangus reigned himself in. As much pleasure as he would glean from their suffering, they had to hand over the blood willingly.

How irritating, he thought, before speaking again.

“Don’t think of this as the end of Alexander, think of it as a new beginning for the rest of your family—for your people. The warlocks and demons will return to Edom, and so long as everyone is on their best behavior, peace will continue for the next fifty years. You’d both be heroes—saving your race from destruction.”

They still hesitated and so Magnus went in for the kill. “This is a time-sensitive offer. You have just the two choices—one decision to make that will save everyone in this city.”

Maryse looked at Robert for a moment before reaching out and taking the vials. Her husband seemed horrified, but she shoved it into his hands anyway. The tubes filled with blood and within seconds, they were pulled back and Magnus admired the crimson containers.

Both remained a deep red rather than turning black, indicating that the blood had been willingly given. He smiled and spelled the vials away.

“The downworld leaders will be contacting you soon to discuss ratification of the document” he said before giving them a long look. “Don’t give them the same welcome you gave me.” He turned away, intent on leaving them. Ideally he’d never see any of these mortals again.

“Wait!” Robert said quickly as he reached into his jacket. Magnus watched as he pulled out a wallet. The man extracted a photo and handed it over. “Please give Alec this.”

Magnus looked over the family portrait before flickering it away. “I will see to it,” he said as he opened the door and stepped out. He walked steadily out of the grand hall, ignoring the hunters that had crowded in. They gave him a wide berth, eyes moving from him to the open doorway where the Lightwoods still resided. Jace and Clary had gone inside to speak to the couple, but Isabelle appeared by his side.

Her dark eyes were sad but controlled. “Why did you kill my brother?” she asked. He paused and turned towards her, but she continued. “You had him for over a year before you killed him. Why couldn’t you have just released him if you were done . . . torturing him.”

The warlock raised a brow at the girl. “I did him a kindness by sparing him the fate that awaited him here.”

“At least give us his body,” she said in a way that was both pleading and yet determined. “You’re here on behalf of the downworld, right? If there’s peace—”

Magnus was quick to cut her off. “I would never part with such a treasure as Alexander Lightwood’s body—or his soul,” he said.

She gasped, probably horrified by the idea that he may have trapped Alexander’s soul upon the young man’s supposed death. The hunters really were just too easy. He gave her one last toothy smile before portaling away.

Magnus stepped away from the portal and looked towards Alexander. The young man was nearly sprawled out on his sofa, feet half tucked under him as he read over an Edom history book. Lesser demons moved around him, hovering over the back of the furniture and slithering between his legs. The hunter looked up, the book nearly dropping from his hand as he hastily got up and walked over.

“What happened?” he asked, his eyes wide and pupil’s blown. “Is there peace? Am I going back?”

Magnus shoved down everything that bubbled up to the surface in his mind. “Which would you prefer?”

Alec looked away for a moment. “Look Magnus . . . Just because I’m going back . . . it doesn’t mean there can’t be peace,” be began, his hand sliding down the warlock’s arm until their fingers were able to entwine. “It doesn’t mean that we can’t . . . try.”

The warlock took a steadying breath as he met Alexander’s gaze. “You would still wish to be with me—even if you were to leave?”

His lover didn’t hesitate. “I don’t want to give you up.”

Magnus looked up at him—at his baby shadow hunter who was so full of hope that he was going home, but also still wanted their relationship to continue. He leaned up and Alexander met him halfway, their lips sliding together as they stepped even closer. One of his arms looped around the hunter’s neck while the other hung limping by his side.

Magic swirled around his fingers as the vials formed and solidified. They eventually pulled and the last flickers of magic caught Alexander’s attention. He looked down even as Magnus held up the two dark vials.

“What are those?” Alexander asked.

Magnus kept his face and voice carefully neutral. “The blood of your parents—willingly given.”

Alec blinked stupidly at them, the arms that had held Magnus close dropping away as his mind struggled to process what was in front of him—what it meant.

“They . . . they agreed,” he said flatly, his eyes dimming to a nothing.

“I told you before, Alexander,” he said quietly. “The shadowhunters don’t deserve you. They never did.”

The hunter swallowed as he took a staggering step back, and Magnus let the vial disappear once more. Alexander eventually slumped back down onto the sofa, leaning back as the lesser demons swirled around him. Magnus went to sit down beside him, but the hunter turned his face away.

“Can I . . . I want to be alone . . . please,” Alec said softly.

Magnus watched him for a moment before nodding. “I will see you at dinner, angel.”

The hunter nodded mechanically and Magnus turned away. He left the room, the door closing quietly behind him and began to long winding journey through the palace to the throne room. He could have portaled there, but he found the walk to be just what he needed to clear his head.

The downworld had their ceasefire, the nephilim had escaped extinction, and Alexander now knew what he truly meant to his family. Alexander was his now, and there would be no more ties to those that were unworthy of his companion’s love.

He came to an empty wall and waved his arm in a wide arc. Magnus hid very few rooms from Alec, but this one . . . this one was far too important to risk his lover accidentally damaging what lay within. Large double doors that towered over him swung open and he took in the gently swaying mass of indigo tendrils that moved with the rhythm of Catarina's hands as she weaved the last bit of framework into place.

He watched as she finished and stood beside her as she finally turned to face him.

“I take it,” she said with a tilt of her head. “From that smug look on your face, that things went well.”

He held out a hand and the vials appeared. She let out a chuckle which he shared.

Magnus smiled. “Was there ever a doubt? Shadowhunters may be old blood, but they’ve not advanced past the children that they’ve always been.”

“Such is usually the case with mortals,” she replied lightly, bringing her involvement with the spell to a close. Magnus could see the magic swirling around in an almost helix-like fashion, just waiting for the last few ingredients—instructions on what to do—and for a host to perform that purpose on.

Catarina crossed her arms as Magnus continued to examine the cradle. “Are you sure you wish to do this, Magnus? Creating a warlock from a shadowhunter . . . it will not be easy.”

He didn’t look away from rooted manifestation. “I would be hard pressed to waste my time on all this for a measly few decades with Alexander. I refuse to watch him wither away and die on me.”

There was silence for a moment before she spoke again. “And what is Alexander’s opinion on this?” she asked and when he didn’t readily respond, her lips thinned. “You have told him, haven't you?”

Magnus flourished his fingers and the family photo appeared. “He’s a bit preoccupied with an identity crisis at the moment,” he said with a grimace. “I won’t compound the issue by adding yet another burden onto him—one dilemma at a time, my dear.”

She continued to eye him suspiciously. “But you are going to tell him, aren’t you? You’re not just going to shove him into this thing without an explanation.”

“Of course not,” he said with some hesitation, because the thought had occurred to him. He had eternity to ask forgiveness, but only the span of a human life to ask permission. He’d thought of this very dilemma off and on the last two years—waffling back and forth in indecision. In the end, he’d decided that he would ask Alexander’s permission, but of course . . . there was only one outcome that Magnus would allow.

The warlock clenched his fist and the photo burned.

Chapter Text

“It’s ready,” he whispered, watching as the blood of the greater demon mingled with that of Robert and Maryse Lightwood. Kalion had not been easily swayed into . . . donating his blood. The demon had never felt the need to procreate, and so he’d been more than a touch disinterested in the idea of adding a soon-to-be-former shadowhunter into his bloodline. In the end, Magnus had been forced to offer up a few choice mortal souls that he’d held onto for the last half century.

“Where did you find this?” Kalion had asked, eyeing the glowing orb and the trapped soul inside. “No one knew where he’d gone.”

Magnus also eyed the soul. He’d been keeping hold of this one as an insurance policy should he ever need to bribe someone in the future. He’d expected to present it to his father, but Kalion was a worthy recipient as well. He would demand nothing less.

“I was there when he took the cyanide,” Magnus murmured. “I captured his soul and he’s been wandering in the darkness ever since. I assume you wish to show him the light.”

Kalion’s fingers had danced over the magical globe before nodding. “I’m surprised you did not ask Asmodeus for this favor. You are his most dear son.”

Magnus pursed his lips. “My father is fond of bedding his own brood—makes sucking the magic from us easier. I would not make Alexander a target of his attentions.”

Kalion nodded in understanding. “I suppose you’re right. My brother is rather lazy.”

Demons usually powered themselves by torturing mortal souls and feeding on their sorrow, but Asmodeus found it far more preferable to consume the magic of his many children—it was why he took them from the mortal realm. Warlocks generated their own power and with so many at his disposal these days, the greater demon rarely even killed his offspring in the process as he had in the past.

He could merely take the energy with nothing more than a handshake, but bedding them made the transmission smoother when the warlock was unable to focus while in the throws of passion. Magnus and his many siblings had come to regard the occasional sex with their father as something of a chore, but while Magnus didn’t think of the lesser demons as anything but empty shells, greater demons were another story.

He’d never allow another to touch Alexander in such a way—not even his own father.

Kalion had said nothing more on the subject as he’d taken the vial and allowed his blood to fill it. The demon handed it back before taking the soul greedily with both hands

“Such joy awaits me, I think,” Kalion said with a smile. “The truly corrupt and evil are always the most exquisite.”

Magnus had thanked his uncle and disappeared. He stepped out of the portal and into the throne room. The cradle swayed before him, casting a pale lavender glow over the room. He took a deep breath, reveling in the hum of magic. The warlock had everything he needed . . . well . . . all but the star of the show.

“Alec,” he whispered, leaning into the ephemeral magic. “You’ll do this for me, won’t you?”

“Do what?”

And here he was, Magnus thought. Right on time.

The warlock stepped away from the swirling cylinder of magic, feeling its tendrils follow him for a bit before they fell away. He turned around to face Alexander, but the hunter’s eyes weren’t on him. They were on the rooted trunk of energy.

“What is this?” Alec asked, his eye blinking in confusion.

Magnus stepped close, sliding up beside his lover. “You wished to be with me, didn’t you, Alec,” he said and it was a statement rather than a question.

The hunter swallowed and looked away from the cradle, his eyes meeting Magnus’s. “I—Of course. Well . . . it’s not like I’m going anywhere now.”

Magnus tilted his head thoughtfully. “But you chose me. If you had the power to do anything, you would still choose me.”

Alexander took a deep breath before nodding. “God help me . . . Yes.”

The warlock smiled. “Good,” he said, lacing his fingers with Alec’s. He began pulling the other man forward towards glowing column.

Alec halted after only a few steps. “What’s going on? What is that thing?”

Magnus looked back, his smile widening. “It’s your future—our future. Step into it and we’ll be together. Forever.”

The hunter pulled on his hand, his head shaking slightly. “How—I don’t want to be a vampire.”

Magnus’s fingers tightened, refusing to relinquish his hold on Alec. “I would never change you into one. No, you will be like me—powerful, immortal—”

“A demon?” Alexander asked, horror beginning to creep into his voice.

The warlock raised a brow at the tone. “Nothing will change, Alexander. You will be just as you were—your angel blood will merely become demon blood.”

Alec stopped trying to pull away as he processed the information. “That’s why you needed my parent’s blood isn’t it? Do they know what you’re intending to do?”

Magnus thought of lying. It would hurt Alexander less, and his lover would still have some glimmer of hope that his relationship with his family could be salvaged.

“They asked. I told them,” he said simply.

The hunter seemed to go limp. “And they still . . . they still gave it to you?” he asked, tears gathering in the corner of the his eyes. Through everything they’d experienced, their fights, conversations, and confessions of the horrors of their pasts, he’d never seen Alexander cry.

The tears slipped out as a bitten off groan escaped the Alec. “My family . . .”

“I am your family, Alexander. We don’t need anyone else. The war is over. At least for the next fifty years, we are free to do what we want— be what we want. There is nothing holding us back . . .” he turned gestured towards the churning vessel of magic. “You’ll be more powerful than they could dream of—free.”

“I . . . I don’t—” Alexander began, clearly overwhelmed.

Magnus moved back towards him, his hand reaching up to cup the other man’s cheek. “I want this to be your decision Alec, but . . . I’ve spent more than year preparing this spell for you. There will be no other chances.”

It would not go to waste . . .

“Why . . . Why would you do this?” Alexander asked, his voice catching with emotion.

“Because I’m not a mortal boy for you to grow old with,” Magnus said placidly. “But I want to be the immortal man that you’d choose to spend eternity with.”

Alexander’s brow furrowed. “But why me? You’ve been alive for so long . . . why would you do this for me?”

It was a question that Magnus has studiously avoided thinking of much less answering for the better part of three years. “I do not know if I really understand what love is, Alexander. Edom is the origin of hatred, anger, and cruelty. There is no place for love there—it is snuffed out in an instant. I lived for so long in misery without even knowing that there was any other way to be. But you . . . you showed me something else, something so beautiful that I shudder to think of it. I would not ask this of you as a mortal. Everything that you are—it would never survive, but this,” he said gesturing to the cradle. “This is my love. This is only the beginning of everything I would do for you. You will never need fear a thing, never need to hide anything of yourself from me or anyone else. You can just . . . be.”

Alexander stared at him for a moment before looking back at the swirling magic. “My family . . . would I ever see them again?”

“Perhaps . . . In time. The accords will soon be signed, and we must return to Edom. We can always come back—must keep these shadowhunters on their toes, after all.”

Time passed differently in Edom. It had a way of slipping by without notice until one suddenly realized that hundreds of years had passed in the mortal plane. Alec would forget his mortal family—and if not, they would age and die soon enough.

“Can things not just remain as they are?”

The question was quiet with a note of pleading and Magnus pulled the other man close into his arms. He felt Alec return the embrace and he sighed.

“I’m—I’m sorry, Alexander,” he whispered. “For my selfishness, but I can’t . . . I can’t let you die. It’s not within me to let something— someone that matters so much, slip away.”

Alec’s eyes closed as he absorbed Magnus’s words. The warlock pulled away and turned Alexander to face the swirling cradle of magic.

“It won’t hurt, Alec. You’ll fall asleep and when you awaken, I’ll be here with you.”

Alexander continued to stand there for a moment longer before taking a hesitant step forward. His hand came down to clutch at Magnus’s again, and the warlock held on every step of the way. When Alec stepped into the rolling mass, he continued to hold on—allowing the tendrils of of magic to ensnare him and pull him deeper into its depths.

Magnus was eventually forced to let go lest he be pulled in as well. His eyes took in the way the fingers continued to search for him for a few seconds longer until they went limp. Alexander’s clothing began to dissolve and the warlock turned away.

Alec would sleep for a while—the blood would need to seep through his pores, into the tissues of his body. The chemicals in his brain would run haywire before evening out and returning to a stability.

The process took months. The hunters came and went while Magnus saw the other warlocks return to Edom one by one. A stilted peace had settled over the mortal plane when Alexander eventually awoke.

Magnus looked down at Alexander as the other man laid there in his arms. The large black wings made the position rather awkward, but neither seemed to care. Magnus was rubbing his fingers gently over Alexander’s throat and face as the spell faded and the quiet of the room ensconced them like a blanket. The warlock thought over everything he’d done to get to this point. All his plans and scheming had lead to this point, and he could not help but revel in the satisfaction of a job well done.

Then it all changed. Suddenly Alexander was pushing him away, his hands clutching at his head.

“Magnus!” he called, eyes darkening into black as the lesser demons that had come to surround them began shrieking—running away in fright. Magnus watched them, his nostrils flaring. If they were running, then everyone else should as well.

He waved his fingers and a portal appeared. The warlock took hold of Alexander and all but dragged the other man through. The illusionary space shimmered around them and a peaceful dark forest appeared. The trees were cast in the ethereal glow of a moon too large and an overabundance of fireflies.

It was one of Alec’s favorite settings—not that that apparently mattered, what with the way Alec turned around and hurdled towards him. Magnus was slammed into one of the trees and Alexander’s fingers dug into his jugular.

“Alexander,” he wheezed out as the hand around his throat tightened.

The other man’s eyes flashed black as the wings beat wildly in the air behind him. Magnus fought his own instinct to lash out as the former nephilim leaned in close.

Alec buried his nose into Magnus’s neck, inhaling loudly. “You smell like power,” he said softly. The hand gentled and Magnus took a steadying breath as his hands came up to touch Alec’s shoulders.

“Are you alright?” he asked.

Alexander’s forehead came to rest on the warlock’s shoulder as he answered softly. “No. No I’m not.”

Magnus was about to say something in response, but before the words could escape him, Alexander pushed away, his hands coming up to his head once more. As he did so, the forest around them suddenly burst into flame.

Alec looked around wildly, stepping around the fire and Magnus hurried to reassure him. “It’s alright, Alexander. It’s not real.”

“It burns, Magnus,” the other man said, his hands trembling in front of his face.

Magnus hesitated to approach the former hunter. With how out of control he was, if he somehow managed to hurt Magnus, it would just make things worse. “It’ll pass, Alec.”

“No. It’s hurts. And I—” Alec shut himself off as he caught sight of his fingers. Magnus watched, confusion passing over his features as yet another warlock mark made itself known. The skin of his fingertips discolored as long black nails sprouted. They shown in the light of the flames with the same iridescent black as his wings.

“Oh—Oh God, what have you done to me?”

Magnus felt a muscle jump beneath his eye. “It’s just your magic. The effects will wear off soon.”

“I’m a monster,” Alec said before shaking his head. The flames rose up higher and Magnus had had enough. He attempted to step through the fire but reared back as his skin blistered. His eyes narrowed. That shouldn't have been possible. This was the illusionary space. The warlock waved his arm in an arc, destroying the illusion only to take another step back as the flames remained.

“Holy shit,” he breathed, looking around.

“Home,” Alec whispered and Magnus felt his eyes go wide as a portal appeared through the flames.

“No—No Alexander!” he called, but the other man had fallen through.

“Fuck!” he yelled as he felt the other man slam into the palace shields. How had Alexander done that? How had he created a portal? Magnus quickly created his own and stepped down into grass of the outer gardens. The palace stood behind them and a dense forest beyond, but the strong spells of protection kept anyone from entering or leaving without Magnus’s permission.

He was grateful for it now as he eyed Alec huddled against the shield, half-concealed by his wings.

“Alexander,” he said hesitantly.

“Please—Please let me go back to Idris,” his lover whispered pleadingly.

The warlock shook his head. “I can’t. Their warding is back up. It would never let you pass inside.”

“I—I don’t want to be like this,” Alexander said as he continued to stare at his fingers.

Magnus knelt down beside Alec. “Your warlock marks don’t change anything about you. You’re still the same, and soon enough you’ll have even that under control. It will just take a little time.”

He moved closer, his hand coming up to hesitantly touch Alec’s wings. They flinched beneath his fingers as he ran the lightest touch over the soft feathers. They held a colorful sheen like oil and Magnus absently wondered if Alexander would molt like a bird. He moved the wings aside and put a hand on Alec’s jaw, tilting his face up towards him.

“You’re fine, Alexander. Everything is fine,” he said soothingly.

Alec shook his head. “How can you say that?” he asked, his voice barely more than a forlorn whisper. “Look at me. I can’t . . .”

Magnus knelt down in front of his lover. “I am looking at you. My eyes never leave you, even when you hide yourself from me.”

“Everything . . . nothing’s the same. I . . . I feel different. My heart is beating so loudly in my ears. The air—it’s like sandpaper on my skin, and I can see so much—I don’t want to see it, Magnus.”

The warlock swallowed. He knew what Alexander was feeling. When his own warlock mark had revealed itself during his childhood, at the height of the trauma of his mother and step father's deaths—he remembered the way the world threatened to suffocate him.

“It won’t stay like this, Alexander,” he said inching closer, allowing his magic to seep from his skin and onto the former hunter. He could see the way Alec’s body shuttered as the soothing balm sheliede his being from the raw magic of the palace grounds and the even the mundane world beyond.

Magic was infused in all living creatures—it lived and breathed all on its own. Alexander’s awakening was almost a siphon drawing power close to him, but his mind was not yet able to process the raw power that came with being a warlock—especially one from an ancient bloodline.

“Please . . . I need him.”

Magnus’s nostrils flared in anger. He needed no clarification about who he was. “You don’t. You don’t need any of them, remember? They gave you up for peace.”

Alec made a small sound of dismay. “He didn’t.”

The warlock prince snorted. “Perhaps not in so many words, but he left you all the same.”

His lover flinched at the words. “When we go to Edom . . . I’ll never see any of them again . . . Let me say goodbye.”

Magnus sighed as he pulled Alexander closer to him. “Alright.”



Chapter Text

Alexander knew the moment his former parabatai entered the palace—felt the other man move through the ever changing corridors. His eyes slid down to the documents strewn over the table before him.

Magnus was doing this on purpose, he realized. Bringing Jace into their home now, while Alexander was trying his best to make sure there were no loopholes hidden within the accords that any of the participating groups could use to their advantage.

His back was still to the doorway when the air froze. Silence reigned through the space as Alec waited for the hunter to speak—to attack—something. But there was nothing. Not a sound of movement was made and Alexander’s heart shuttered until he could no longer take it.

“Jace,” he breathed and the muscles in his back shifted as his wings fluttered. Alec still kept his back to the other man, his hands resting on the wood of the table, anchoring him to reality.

“It’s—It’s really you,” Jace whispered in response. Alexander finally turned around and faced his former parabatai. The hunter took him in, his eyes moving over Alec as more words tumbled out. “I . . . I had to come—Raziel knows what that warlock has been telling you about the family—”

“The truth,” Alexander said sharply. “Robert and Maryse sold me . . . you and Izzy didn’t know.”

Jace was clearly taken aback by the harsh words, but he was quick to defend his adopted family. “They did what they thought was best, and only after Magnus assured them that your relationship was mutual.”

The young warlock snorted. “And they believed him. Maryse and Robert Lightwood took the word of a warlock on pure faith alone.”

Jace swallowed uncomfortably. “Is it not true?”

“Of course it’s true,” Alec spat out before his tone softened. “Magnus and I . . . what we have . . . it’s forever.”

The hunter flinched at the statement, clearly unhappy with what had happened. Alexander watched as Jace’s eyes moved over his body, his wings. “They’re beautiful, you know,” he said at last.

Alec shook his head. “Black wings . . . like the fallen ones. I can’t . . . I can’t glamour them yet.”

He could see that Jace wanted to tell him not to bother—that he was fine just the way he was, but they both knew it would be a lie. If he ever intended to venture into the mundane world, he would need to be able to hide the wings.

“Alec I . . .” Jace began stepping forward. “I just . . . I feel like there is so much I want to say—I thought we had more time.”

“I have nothing but time these days, it seems,” Alec said passively.

Jace shook his head. “But you won’t be beside me . . . not like before.”

The young warlock sighed.“No. Not like before.”

“I always knew, ya know—the way you felt about me.”

The words were said quietly—guiltily. Alexander felt his eyes narrow. “Is that why you wanted to be my parabatai? To stop me from . . .”

The hunter looked away and Alec could smell his shame. He’d known of Alexander’s feelings and instead of confronting him, he’d ensure that his best friend would never act on them.

Alexander chuckled darkly. “I suppose you did what you thought was in my best interests. Keep me from ever revealing what I am.”

“It worked, didn’t it?” Jace asked loudly. “No one suspected—not until you said something.”

The warlock couldn’t stop the sneer that bubbled to the surface. “No one wanted to know. It’s easier to pretend that Alexander Lightwood is the perfect son and heir to a prestigious family—incapable of the sin of lusting after another man, much less his own adopted brother.”

Jace’s lips thinned. “Things are different now. Nothing will never be the same as it was before. We can go back to Idris and . . .” The hunter reached out, his hand taking Alec’s and the warlock blinked at the way his former parabatai’s fingers moved ever so slightly over the skin of his wrist.

“And what, Jace?” he asked tiredly. “What could I possibly do in Idris when I carry these?” he asked gesturing to the great black wings.

The fingers tightened. “We don’t have to stay in Idris,” Jace said softly, stepping closer.

Alec’s brow furrowed in confusion. “What?”

The hunter leaned in. “The war is over—there’s peace for fifty years. We can leave Idris and go to the mundane world. Just the two of us.” The last sentenced was accompanied by a lingering look—one that filled Alexander’s mind with suspicion.

The warlock shook his head. “No. I can’t ask that of you. You love being a shadowhunter.” He wanted to step back but the table behind him kept him in place.

“You don’t have to ask. I’m offering.” Jace took another step closer, his hand moving up Alec’s wrist. Feather light fingers ran over the skin of his arm and Alexander felt confusion begin to cloud his mind.

“What are you—”

Jace leaned in, his mouth brushing against Alec’s, halting his words. The warlock froze at first but then for a brief glimmer of a second, he kissed the hunter back. It was everything and nothing like he imagined—especially when he felt the subtle brush of his wings against the ground. The sensation jerked him from his reverie and he pulled away abruptly.

“We can’t—” he began, his voice far more strained than he’d have liked.

Jace moved his hands to cup Alec’s jaw. “We’re no longer parabatai—”

Alec reached up and pulled the hands off his face, pushing past the hunter. “It doesn’t matter. I’m—I’m in love with Magnus.”

“He kidnapped you Alec,” Jace said loudly and the warlock could hear the pain in the other man’s voice. “Please—Please come home with me.”

Alec shook his head, unable to turn and face his adopted brother. Jace seemed to blame himself for Alexander’s situation, but in the end, it was Alec’s decision to step into the cradle—something he refused to regret. “No. I—I’m sorry Jace. I’m going with Magnus. We’ll be leaving soon.”

Jace moved swiftly around him, his hands coming around Alec’s arms in a vice-like grip. “But this is what you wanted, isn’t it? All these years, I’m the only person you ever looked at, but now you’re leaving me—and for what? The first man—the first demon that showed you a sliver of interest?”

Alec’s hand was around Jace’s throat in a fraction of a second. The hunter’s expression morphed and suddenly there was an abrupt fear in Jace’s eyes. He knew then that his features had taken on more of his warlock mark with darkness overcoming his sclera as he glared at his brother.

“Demon, is it?” he asked spitefully before letting out a dark chuckle. “That’s what I was forced to become because of this family. Do you think I wanted this? That I sought this end?”

He shoved jace away from him and the other man staggered back, his eyes wild. “Fucking come home, Alec. We’ll figure something out—” Behind him, a flask shattered.

Alexander shook his head. “Just stop, Jace. You don’t want me, you never did. Stop forcing yourself. Tell Mom, dad, Isabelle and Max that I love them. Tell them goodbye for me.”

“What! Alec—”

His words were cut off as Alexander flourished his fingers and a portal appeared below Jace. The hunter fell through and would be dropped at the gates of Idris.

The room was silent once more and Alec sighed. “My magic was affecting him, wasn’t it?”

Magnus stepped from the shadows, appearing from the mist. “I’m gratified that you noticed. I wasn’t sure that you would.”

Alec snorted. “You did it to me on enough occasions that I can tell when something is off.”

The older warlock pursed his lips but didn’t apologize—not that Alexander would bother asking him to. It was a fool’s errand to seek out remorse from a creature as old as Magnus Bane. Alec felt the lesser demons begin crawling out from under the furniture and slithering their way towards him. He allowed a few of them to claw their way up his clothing and onto his shoulder. One of them hissed at Magnus and the older warlock’s eye twitched as his fingers came up to destroy the tiny demon but Alec turned away.

Magnus’s lips thinned, but his hand dropped. “You’re still spoiling them. They aren’t pets.”

“Doesn’t mean you just kill them as you please,” Alec said easily.

Magnus let out a disdainful sniff. “They’re not even really aware—barely cognizant of anything at all.”

As if to bely his words, one of the little beasts nuzzled Alexander’s neck. It all but preened under the attention the new warlock showed it when he reached up and ran a finger over its exposed and twisted spine.

Alexander chuckled as he walked away. Magnus watched him, a smile curling his lips as he moved to follow his lover. The nephilim would be saddened by Alexander’s fate, but soon enough—perhaps after only a few decades—Alexander would be forgotten and then everyone who knew him . . . the ones who could sway him . . . they would age and die.

All that would remain in Alexander’s world was dust and Magnus Bane.

 

Chapter Text

The other man looked at him for a moment before leaning forward once more, his nostrils flaring. “You smell so good,” Alec murmured.

Magnus bit his lip. “I smell the same as I always have.”

Alexander shook his head. “No . . . I can smell the fire on you . . . the blood.”

The warlock blinked in confusion, but before he could say anything else, the other man took hold of his waist and turned him, his back slamming into the shield.

“Alec!” he yelped out in surprise.

“I can’t,” his lover murmured incoherently and Magnus felt his eyes go wide as magic began bleeding down from the other man’s lips. He reared back as Alec leaned in, but the shield prevented him from getting far. Alexander’s lips slanted over his own and he felt powerful magic enter him; inflaming his body. The hands that had been pushing on Alec’s shoulder froze and trembled. His eyes remained open even as his lips were forced further apart and his lover’s tongue entered his mouth.

It was common place for warlocks to slip magic into sex, he’d done this exact thing to Alexander fairly often, but no other that he’d bedded besides his own father had been strong enough for him to feel any of the effects. His heart began racing inside his chest as he heaved, taking even more of the essence into his lungs and blood.

Was this what it felt like? He wondered as his body went completely lax. He felt Alec tearing at his clothing, but his mind had yet to catch up with the situation he’d somehow created. Eventually, when teeth latched onto his shoulder, the spell seemed to break and he was again aware of what was happening.

“Alexander,” he said with a swallow. Magnus wasn’t entirely opposed to the situation, but he’d never felt this . . . powerless either. He could get the other man off him by force, but hurting Alexander—it was never an option.

His head tilted back until it rested on the shield, his hands coming around Alexander’s shoulders as the other man continued to pull on his clothing. He felt his own magic brimming close to the surface, leaking from the corner of his mouth.

Alec’s hands sank into Magnus’s hair and pulled his face back towards the former hunter. Alexander’s eyes glowed with cat-like slits just like Magnus’s—a by-product perhaps of Magnus’s own magic powering the spell—but his were . . . darker. The sclera of his eyes were a pitch black, broken only by the yellow of his irises.

He had little time to contemplate the further ramifications of the mark when their mouths met once more. Magnus couldn’t help the shiver that ran through his body as their magic intermingled, heightening their mutual pleasure as they ground themselves together. It was everything and more than he’d imagined. Alexander was powerful—more powerful than Mangus had thought possible, but then Kalion—despite his relatively tranquil attitude—had never been a slouch when it came to the pecking order of Edom. It was why he’d asked the greater demon first.

Alec eventually pulled away, his eyes hooded and lips swollen. “Please,” he whispered.

Magnus nodded and leaned in again, his arms wrapping tightly around his lover and pulling them close together. Their flesh met and the warlock could feel Alec’s wings come around them as he lifted Magnus’s leg up.

He didn’t bother with a flourish of his fingers as he conjured up the necessary slick to ease the way. Alexander pushed inside seconds later and Magnus could not help the groan that escaped him. It burned and ached, but he wouldn’t stop Alexander.

He’d never deny his lover what he needed.

Alec’s skin weeped with magic as it puffed from his mouth and nose like smoke and swirled around them. He’d slept with thousands of people—warlocks, demons, downworlders, and mortals alike, but nothing compared to the perfection that was Alexander. Even with his less than impressive control, he still fucked like a god and his beauty was only enhanced by the new additions. The darkness of his wings and eyes, the way his nails dug into Magnus’s skin making him bleed—it all only served to heighten the experience.

The new warlock continued to thrust within him, never stopping and hardly even breathing as he moved, pushing Magnus against the shield. The warlock could only gasp for breath as he held on to his lover.

Considering the months of build-up, this first time was relatively short, and Alexander eventually shuttered. He pushed in hard one final time, groaning into Magnus’s throat. Magnus hadn’t come, though he didn’t hold it against his lover as Alexander all but sagged against him.

Eventually, Alec pulled away enough to watch himself slip out of Magnus’s body. In doing so, he noticed the other warlock’s not-so-little problem. The new warlock licked his lips as his fingers moved lightly over Magnus’s cock before he dropped gracefully to his knees. Alexander looked up at Magnus, his dark eyes half-closed with want. Magnus’s cock rested against that soft pale cheek for a moment before the other man nosed the head, licking it softly.

“Alexander,” he said breathlessly.

Alec teased him a while longer before taking the appendage into his mouth. Magnus’s chest shuttered as he felt more of Alexander’s magic flowing into him. His cock felt like it was on fire and he struggled to both pull away and push in deeper.

“Alec!” he yelped, but the other man didn’t release him, rather he sucked more of the cock into his mouth and down his throat. Magnus could only look down and meet those dark eyes before he came with a loud moan. His breathing was rapid and his body trembled as Alexander pulled away. Magnus felt his knees go weak and Alec all but caught him as he collapsed into the grass.

The new warlock laid him out in the carpet of green before crawling over him. There was a predatory quality that Magnus blinked at. His eyes were caught by the way the other man’s erection had once again stated to inflate.

“You . . .” he began, but there was little to say at this point. Alexander seemed to be slowly regaining himself, but it looked as though there would be a few more rounds of love-making before he was really back to his old self.

What a pity.

“I don’t . . . It’s like I can’t . . . Why do I feel like this?” Alec asked, even as his hips began shallowly grinding into Magnus’s

The warlock smiled. “It’ll wear off soon. Your mind is still catching up with your body,” he said, arms coming up around Alexander’s neck to pull the other warlock down to him. “But until then . . .” Magnus trailed off as their lips met once more and Alexander groaned into the kiss.